A Beautiful Afternoon with Anthony – one of the top achievers of the “2022” CPEA – Grenada

About a month ago, I felt inspired to expand the scope of my Blog. There was an increasing desire to connect more with the stories of others; their challenges and their victories, their ability to persevere towards unique and noble goals, their willingness to uplift and positively influence others, by sharing heart-moving relatable life experiences.

It was time to capture the stories of wave-makers, and those who were willing to make a difference, whether their actions impacted a few or many. I grew excited thinking about the impact these stories could have on those who would choose to read them.

I wondered where to start and remembered that the CPEA results for Grenada was recently released. I was curious about the top performers and immediately dived into research mode. The information was super easy to access and I soon learnt that the top performers were Anthony Medford from Alpha Junior School, and Calvin Clyne from the Grenville Methodist School; they both scored a total of 483 points.

For my readers who do not reside in Grenada or the Caribbean, CPEA is the acronym for Caribbean Primary Exit Assessment. It is an assessment of the literacies required by all pupils exiting the primary school system. This assessment consists of projects which are completed by students, during their final year at the primary level, and a final exam which takes place in May every year.

On Wednesday, 20th July, I got the opportunity to chat with one of the top performers, Anthony Medford .

Anthony and I – Location – Tricentennial Park, St. George’s, Grenada

Anthony is 12 years old, the only child of his parents, Zennie and Richard Medford. We arranged to meet at the Tricentennial Park in St. George’s, Grenada. I was really happy to see that he was accompanied by both parents.

Meeting the family was a breath of fresh air. We took some needed pictures and then we got into the real business of the meet up, which was to interview Anthony.

My interview with Anthony follows. I do hope that this simple interview would remind someone that our world is filled with people who still focus on practicing good habits and are consistently working towards significant goals.

Efforts were made to reflect Anthony’s exact responses, as much as possible.

Janel: Congratulations on achieving the highest score for Grenada in the CPEA results. How did you find out that you achieved the top score in Grenada?

Anthony: I found out I achieved the top score in Grenada after school. Our teachers had gotten results and after they said what schools we were each going to, then they said in the top four positions, three people from Alpha were in it, and for the top position they called my name.

Janel: How did you feel when you got the good news?

Anthony: I was shocked, excited and happy.

Janel: What were the good habits you practiced that helped you to achieve such success?

Anthony: The good habits I practiced were studying on Sunday mornings before, I go to church, doing past papers and the “Let’s Pass CPEA” books.

Janel: Did you have difficult times at school when you needed to remain positive and strong? What did you do to overcome those difficult times?

Anthony: Yes I did have difficult times. I just had to do it. In grade six when we had to do the project for CPEA, at first it seemed like not much but it became a lot and we had to submit it within a few weeks after we got the information.

Janel: What did you do to meet the deadline?

Anthony: We formed a group and we came together on Saturdays and talked about who is doing what for the project and the next week we would see what each person did.

Janel: Interesting! This is what grown-ups do at work you know!

Janel : Do you have a favourite subject?

Anthony: Yes, my favourite subject is Math.

Janel: Why?

Anthony: I find it simple.

Janel: You find it simple. Isn’t that amazing! At least you can help some people.

Anthony: Yes, once I know the correct way to do it, it’s not too hard for me.

Janel: I like that! What are you looking forward to the most at your new school?

Anthony: I am looking forward to making friends and learning new things.

Janel: What do think you need to do to prepare for your secondary school level?

Anthony: I need to be ready and prepared mentally.

Anthony – Tricentennial Park,
St. George’s, Grenada

Janel: Imagine you were to meet a young boy, maybe two years younger than you are, and he tells you that school has been difficult for him and he does not like attending school because he is often bullied and teased. What do you think you would say to him to encourage him to not give up?

Anthony: I would tell him “try to ignore the person or people bullying you, but if you still feel the same way tell a teacher or a parent if the teacher isn’t doing much”.

Janel: If you were given the opportunity to go back to Alpha Junior and offer advice to the new grade 6 class, as they prepare to sit the 2023 CPEA exams, what do you think you would like to say to them?

Anthony: They should try to go with as much points as possible into the exam and there will be challenges trying to get as much points as possible, but is just to overcome them. And tell them to study and do the “Let’s pass CPEA” books, because sometimes there is information in them that they do not get from the teachers.

Janel: Well Anthony, I am grateful to your parents and to you for allowing me to chat with you. It has been a pleasant experience. So as we wrap up, you know you have had success and achieved a lot and I am sure that there is a group of people in your life that helped you to be successful. Is there anyone or a group of people you would like to thank for supporting you on your journey?

Anthony: God, my parents and my grand parents for supporting me and helping me.

Janel: Great. I hope that by sharing your story it would inspire someone.

As our interview came to an end, I felt grateful to have had such an opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Young Anthony was alert and engaging through-out our chat. The interview was followed by great discussion with Anthony’s parents. It was certainly a pleasure getting to know his family.

Anthony is a representation of hope and great potential, and I look forward to hearing about his journey through secondary school; he will be attending the St. George’s Institute. I pray that God would keep him safe, so that he is able to realise his purpose on this earth.

Best wishes to the entire family!

Anthony and Parents – Tricentennial Park, St. George’s, Grenada

Thank you to the Principal of Alpha Junior and of course, Anthony’s parents, Richard and Zennie, for making this moment a reality.

So the conditions are right now, no excuses!

It is now six months and four weeks since I started my HR Consulting Business, “J’s”. It was a step of faith that offered me more of the life I wanted. One of the lifestyle changes I looked forward to then, was to exercise consistently. Today, while I am exercising more often, it is still a struggle. Pushing yourself can be hard! There is no doubt whatsoever.

As I exercised today, I felt pain but I kept pushing. My sit-ups in particular, hurt the most but I got it done by focusing on the goal (the number of sit-ups I wanted to accomplish) and not the pain I was feeling. I also observe that many times I don’t feel like exercising but again whenever I remind myself of the benefits I am motivated to get up and get. I often shift my mind to how great I usually feel just a few minutes into being active. I reminded myself that now I have the time and space to exercise as I wish and I should never take it for granted.

We must daily encourage ourselves by focusing on our goals, the outcome, the benefits, the results. And as long as the good good Father gives us life, we should seek to be excellent stewards of out time. It’s not always easy but there is always a way to get through the lazy feelings, the mental blocks and the discouraging moments. There is always a way!

The same thing applies to our family time, our prayer and bible reading time and other productive habits we should be cultivating.

We often make promises to ourselves to do better when the conditions are “right” and then when our circumstances truly changes, in our favour, and the conditions are eventually “right”, we forget where we should be heading and allow new distractions to rob us from achieving the goals, we were once excited about.

Be focused! Be purpose-minded! Keep steady!

Intimacy with God is the Best!

Intimacy with God is intimacy at another level. Earthly intimacy would never measure up. When I am lost in communication with God, I come out healed, restored, encouraged and empowered. I am lifted, revived, and there is a strengthening of my faith. Intimacy with God reminds me that I am loved beyond measure and there is nothing I can do to change that. I am free to express how I feel and I am never misunderstood.

As a married woman, I have experienced intimacy with my husband and while it is special and beautiful, it is not perfect. Knowing God has allowed me to experience an intimacy that is not easy to describe or explain. It is an intimacy that fills every need, an intimacy that ignites my faith and gives me unending joy and peace.

I am always thinking about not grieving the Holy Spirit, because it affects my relationship with God, it disturbs our fellowship and it is difficult living feeling as if you are far away from God. With the distance comes fear and doubt and reminders of the unpleasant things of the past. With the distance comes tension and mistrust in my earthly relations. With the distance comes unhealthy thoughts and actions. I am desperately in need of God’s presence, His intimacy and His fellowship to keep on the straight and narrow.

Therefore, everyday I am seeking to make the right choices and I have found that the right choices are easier to make when I am on the straight and narrow. Note carefully that the straight and narrow is not what many of us perceive it to be. It is not limiting but limitless, it does not rob you of life but offers life abundantly. It does not hinder you from fully utilizing your gifts but opens amazing doors and opportunities for you to do so.

And there is a bonus, when my relationship with God is healthy, my relationship with my husband is healthy as well as my relationship with my family and friends. There is no other way to say it but to say that, “I am a Winner! Are you?

Tough times and trials! Really?

Let me tell you a story about a coconut, an old man and his grand daughter. This old man lived with his daughter, his grand daughter and his dog Cleo. His back yard was filled with various fruit trees including mangoes, plums and coconut trees. One day, a coconut fell from one of the coconut trees, into the drain located directly under. The old man thought to himself, there is no need to move it right away, I have ample time to do so.

Before he knew it, days, then weeks passed and one morning, while cleaning Cleo’s Kennel, he noticed the coconut in the drain with tiny branches sprouting from it. Wow, he thought to himself, it’s growing, it will be a great idea to remove it and transfer it to somewhere else where it can grow freely. While he thought it was a brilliant idea, he said to himself, “I am busy now and after I am done here, it will be dark.”

His 16 year-old grand daughter noticed the growing coconut three two months after and said to her Grandfather, “Grandpa, there is a small coconut three growing in the back drain, if we do not move it now, it will be difficult to remove later”. The old man looked at his daughter and said. “I need that tree and will be transferring it to somewhere else. Grandpa will take care of it.”

Let’s jump to the end. As we say, long story short. The old man procrastinated until the three grew much bigger to the point that the drain was completely blocked and the branches extended to one of the windows of the house in which he lived. The tree was now big enough to block the sunlight that once flooded the back yard.

This coconut was allowed to form into a tree that become difficult to remove. The roots are now established and it has created a number of problems. The old man is now concerned about the tree and would need to acquire the services of a bobcat or an appropriate machine to remove the tree and of course there will be a cost for this service. (Inspired by a true story).

Sometimes we create our own tough times and trials by being lazy, by procrastinating and by acting irresponsibly. No wonder God delays giving us certain privileges and material possessions at times. We need to demonstrate that we are capable of managing the little that God has given us, before even considering asking Him for more. We need to stop creating difficulties for ourselves by simply neglecting to do what is right and to do it in a timely manner.

Stop creating your tough times and trials.

Be inspired today to be proactive and to apply wisdom daily in the management of your home affairs or your family affairs. We are expected to shine in every area of our lives.

God’s way not my intellect.

No matter how educated I become, I need to remain grounded in God’s word less I begin to reason like a fool feeding my pride and ego and basking in the applause of imperfect men.

Meditation on God’s word would certainly keep me sober and in check amidst a maze of personal opinions and philosophies that are not founded on the principles of God; the God of Creation, the God of truth.

I love how he downloads wisdom when I need it most. When I speak or when I write I can be confident that he is pleased. Doing it my way is just too risky!

If my utterances can be blessed by a God who is 100% holy, then I am fit to execute my purpose. I am fit to dwell among the rich, the poor, the educated and the gifted. He ordains me and equips me. He empowers and protects me. He would always guide my footsteps.

I can walk through the dark valleys of death and live because Christ lives in me.

I can be salt because his presence adds flavour.

I can be light in the midst of stubborn dark moments.

I can be hope for the hopeless.

It all begins with my willingness to submit to the principles of God’s word!

Oh, this picture inspires me to keep playing. Hopefully, I can purchase a new guitar soon :).

Politics and Purpose

On June 23rd, 2022, Grenadians across the tri-island state of Grenada made their way to various polling stations to participate in the nation’s general elections. The majority of voters came out early, including a number of first time voters. Many reported of being in long lines and having to wait for up to two or three hours to cast their vote.

Citizens standing in line expressed the moment as tiring and exciting and the great turnout as evidence of the people’s desire for change. There were others who were more cautious, reminding us to wait for the results. When the results were eventually revealed it showed that the sentiments of many were right. The National Development Congress (NDC) defeated the New National Party (NNP) at the polls winning nine of Grenada’s fifteen seats; a solid victory indeed.

It is important to note that the NNP was in power from 1995 to 2008, and then again from 2013 to 2022. NNP was a formidable force over the years, the longest serving political party in the history of Grenada’s politics. Former Prime Minister, Dr. The Rt. Honourable Keith Mitchell, was loved and supported by many, a man who has been often described as a lover of cricket, charismatic, a statistician and a smart politician. I am sure it would be difficult for some NNP fans to move on but Grenadians are resilient and I believe we can gracefully put the past behind us.

With a fresh compliment of leaders, who are young and vibrant, NDC has been given the opportunity, once again, to lead and many of us are filled with hope and the anticipation of good governance that emanates transparency and accountability, efforts to unify Grenada (decreasing the focus on party loyalty and symbolism), freedom of expression and service, and the strengthening of sincere, whole-hearted Grenadian patriotism.

Many, like me, have voted for both NNP and NDC in the history of Grenada’s elections, and have no interest in pledging blind allegiance to any man-made system. Many like me are disgusted by the division seen among our people, the bitter exchange of words, the animosity and the desire to defend and justify wrong doing by our leaders. What we plead for, is for our people to be first, for our nation to be first. We plead for servant leadership with integrity, leaders who would deliver on their promises and who would be diligent and productive from day one and through-out the five years.

I feel overjoyed to experience this victory, because, like many of my colleagues, we desire to experience a different kind of leadership. There is a renewed vibe, a renewed hope and for some reason I feel more comfortable expressing my views and are encouraged to become more actively involved in nation building.

I also feel motivated and energized to pray for my Government. The need for prayer is now more than ever. I feel motivated and energized to share my knowledge, experience and talents, so that others can be developed and motivated to do the same. I am particularly looking forward to the higher-level debates in Parliament, I am anticipating the establishment of new legislations and policies that would protect Grenada and Grenadians, I am anticipating the coming forward of Grenadians who have silently and sadly sunk into the background, fearing being labeled and misunderstood, when all they wish to do is offer constructive criticism.

I hate what division has done to us, I hate the fact that a great portion of our population lack the ability to reason and discuss the business of Grenada objectively, no matter who they support. I hate the fact that so many of us are poor and lack education. I hate the fact that we have become fearful of loosing Grenada. It hurts. But somehow, I see a rainbow, a silver lining and while I know man is not perfect and is subject to fail, I am positive that good will be achieved.

I honestly wish my new Government success because Grenada needs it. NDC cannot afford to fail; we need to move forward. The role of the opposition is significant to our success and I do believe that once they are able to understand their role and execute it effectively, we would see progress. Our former PM, Dr. Keith Mitchell, has vowed to provide the new government with a productive opposition and insisted it would be “nothing personal”. A healthy opposition is critical as we more FORWARD. The future can be bright, it’s all up to us.

So meanwhile, as I wish my homeland well, I am paying attention to see what my role in this new season will be. I would continue to pray that the NDC would allow God’s wisdom to permeate their minds, their discussions and their decisions.

I urge you to ask the question, “Lord what would you have me to do in this new season? How can I contribute or continue to contribute to nation-building?” The time for campaigning is over. The time for teamwork has come! Be encouraged by the words of our Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell;

“I am therefore using this opportunity to call on all Grenadians who have, prior to this, shied away from public service, who shied away from serving on boards of statutory bodies of Government entities. The doors are open, you are welcome. If you believe in serving your country, if you are a hard worker, and if you have the skills and talent, we the people of Grenada need you.”

Let’s move forward together! Grenada belongs to each and everyone of us.

In marriage, true friendship really matters

True friends can have a meal together and not feel uncomfortable in each other’s presence.

True friends can sincerely support each other’s hobbies, dreams and projects.

True friends are willing to sacrifice something that is important, to them to ensure their spouse is taken care of.

True friends are willing to learn from each other.

True friends desire to spend time with each other.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been married, it’s always a great time to reflect on the quality of your friendship and seek to improve. Marriage is a wonderful thing.

Here are some tips for building friendship within your marriage.

  1. Keep sharing your personal plans and ideas with your spouse and be ready to listen when he/she wants to do give an input.
  2. Don’t let jealousy ruin your happy moments; spouses can sometimes become jealous of their spouse’s friends and their accomplishments. Think positive and be happy for them.
  3. Show care and concern for your spouse’s family and friends.
  4. Make an effort not to forget to celebrate the special occasions.
  5. Take time out to enjoy humor and to be silly.
  6. Never try to make your spouse look bad in public; keep your disagreements private.
  7. Recognise and appreciate them openly.
  8. Support them in their efforts to practice a healthy lifestyle.
  9. Spend quality time with them weekly.
  10. Send them meaningful and inspirational notes and messages during the day.
  11. Call them during the day just to say “hi”.
  12. Support them in prayer regularly and let them know you are doing so.

It’s all up to you, to enrich your experience living with your spouse. It is not as difficult as we often make it to be, especially understanding that “With God all things are Possible!” It is much more enjoyable being friends.

Enjoy your marriage, it’s a blessing!

It’s the Prayer Walk – Come Walk With Me.

Am I to far away from the scene, from the pain, from the horror? To feel, to cry, to stop and adequately ponder? It happened again, children forced to look into the barrel of the gun. Yes, they are mere children, they’ve only just begun and its over.

It’s slowly becoming the scary norm of our waking up and our lying down. Mentally, I am sick of it, burdened and weary. It’s a sad and distressful hour. And yet, I am not the mother or the father. I am the distanced neighbour.

Am I becoming numb, unsensitive, unmoved? while for others life is now a painful memory pool. God, are you there? Are you really there? Something is terribly twisted and contaminated; darkness lingers around us. How could I offer hope for tomorrow when tomorrow often brings more pain, when the attacks on our children are clearly in vain.

I look out the window and its, dull, dim and still. I stare into the distance and I can see a flicker of silver, a light, a glow. I fear to shift my focus because the light is igniting something inside me. Something that makes me feel like breathing intentionally the breath I received, and to keep breathing again, and to step out and walk towards the light, my hands outstretched reaching out to those who would dare to walk with me.

We choose to walk towards the light, with every step our feet grow stronger and lighter. Together we walk, in the midst of darkness, in pain and in sorrow, confused and bewildered about tomorrow, but we continue to walk. The light gets brighter and our voices are lifted up into a glorious chorus of hope. Somehow, we have been enlightened and now we walk more intentionally, more purposefully, taking two and three, as many as we can take along with us, towards the light.

And so I have concluded that I can choose to be bitter, to hate and incite revenge or I can choose to be prayerful. I choose prayer for I have not prayed enough. Perhaps if I take prayer more seriously more lives would escape the wrath of the evil master. I vow to prayerfully walk towards the light, inviting others to walk with me.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month

Today, it’s Saturday and I do not feel like lifting anything heavier than a cobweb. I have had a bit of a rough week and all I feel like doing is listening to uplifting songs and messages and scrolling through funny inspiring reels.

I gave in a little and then I decided to have a talk with myself. It resulted in me getting up from bed and creating this poster about mental health (see below). That’s it! I am motivated now.

It is important to remember that our mental health is our responsibility. Stop blaming somebody and take control of your life. As mental health awareness month wraps up, know that for you and I our pursuit of mental health never ends. Life can be rough and tough, it can be filled with uncertainties, painful losses, deep hurts and disappointments.

But, we can flip the page and see that life is also beautiful. It’s up to you to keep flipping the pages or to just keep staring at the page you are at. Instead you can choose to experience life’s beauty.

Stop the pity parties and stand up and be counted, go live your purpose!

The Gift of Mentorship

Living a life of purpose involves others. Life is meaningless if all we can think about is ourselves. The real joy comes from sharing your knowledge and experience with others in a manner that uplifts and empowers.

Today I am reflecting on the fulfillment that comes from giving through mentorship.

It has been 5 months since I transitioned from working as an HR Manager, within the traditional 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. work environment, to HR Consultancy, and the one thing I am most grateful for is the opportunity to mentor aspiring HR Professionals. In November, 2021, I embarked on a journey which presented much uncertainty and the opportunity to explore new territories. What I anticipated mostly was the opportunity to build my own business with my unique standards and services and to contribute to the development of my homeland. I saw myself making a difference within organisations and in the lives of their employees.

What I did not envisage was the opportunity to mentor young aspiring HR professionals who would simply be drawn to me because I am in the same field. They are on the look-out for individuals they can connect with and learn from; individuals they can trust. Their search is often fueled by a desire to know more and to excel in their field of interest. It is encouraging to see how they are humble enough to reach out and say to older professionals, “I value what you have and I need you to support me along my development journey”.

It is good to know that there are still young people who are focused and ambitious, with great attitudes. They see value in listening to those with experience and they understand the need to respectfully sit at the feet of those who have already walked the path they have chosen.

With the flexibility I now have, I can schedule mentoring sessions with individuals who need it, and I do this freely because I know it matters. It is the best part of this journey so far. Many of them may have had rough starts or major interruptions in their lives but they display an inner strength and determination that keeps them persevering.

My encouragement to you is that as you pursue your quest to be successful, don’t forget to personally invest in others. Take the time out to pass on valuable knowledge and experience. It can make a huge difference in their lives and yours as well. Don’t underestimate how it would enrich you. Seek God’s wisdom as you endeavour to positively impact their lives. If you ever get to mentor anyone, you are indeed placed in a very influential position and must do your best to make these shared moments count.

Let them be moments that are filled with valuable lessons, not just regarding the career they have chosen, but more so lessons for sound character building and for survival. Our world is saturated with selfish ambitions, and opinions and theories that are not founded on godly principles. It means therefore that opportunities that present themselves to mentor others are also opportunities to inspire them to consider following Jesus. You see, when we speak about sound character and survival, we must speak about spiritual transformation and hope. It’s only then our mentorship would be complete.

Mentorship is a gift, accept it with honour.