Daily Affirmations

My Mom and me, December ’11

In the spirit of Mother’s Day (this Sunday), here’s one for you, Mom!

My Mom is full of great advice.  She seems to always know just what to say at just the right time to make me feel better about any challenge that I may be facing.

One of her best words of wisdom, though, is her daily morning catchphrase: “BE a great day!”

My Mom truly believes that we make our own destiny based on the choices we make on a daily basis.  She knows that we each have the power to have a good day or a bad one based on how we frame things and react to adversity.  I really love that about her.

Today, I had an inspirational thought of my own that I wanted to share with you in hopes that it might brighten your day and lift your spirits, if you need it:

Sometimes you have to tell yourself, “I can do this!…I can do this!…I WILL do this!” until you’re convinced…and it gets done.  Our inner voice can be our own worst enemy or our own best friend. We have to make the choice!

It can be easy to take a back seat in our own lives and coast along miserably, just barely getting by emotionally.  It’s a lot harder to take the reins and go after your dreams.  I truly believe we each have the power to attain whatever we want if we believe in ourselves.  You have to believe, from the deepest part of your being, that you deserve great things and that you are capable of making them happen.  Great achievements come with great risk.  Great risk comes with confidence.  Confidence comes with action.  So, get up, get out, and make your dreams a reality!  You can do it!  

(I believe in you, so you should, too!)

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms out there!  May you be your child/children’s greatest hero like my Mom is for me.


ps: Thank you, everyone, for the “Happy Birthday” love I received yesterday!  It feels great to be 28 and I’m excited for all that this year will bring!

Artist Profile: Traditional Native American and R&B Singer, Mother and Activist – Kyra Climbingbear

Click the photo to see the video

This is just a short glimpse into the life of Kyra Climbingbear, an urban Indian living in New Jersey.

She is Eastern Band Cherokee and Lumbee and Black, is a singer and an activist. Climbingbear is the mother of two small girls and is an R&B and traditional Cherokee music singer.

To learn more about Kyra visit her website.

For more about the producer and editor of the video visit AmyStretten.com

Note: I apologize for the rough introduction. I will be refining this video shortly. Please check back for a new and improved version soon!


Native Journalist meets the US Surgeon General at Families USA Health Action 2010 Conference

Amy Stretten, Dr. Regina Benjamin, and Reza Clifton at Health Action 2010 in Washington, DC

I had the privilege of meeting and getting to know Reza Clifton (Blogger, New Media Producer, Radio Program Host, and DJ) who was at Health Watch 2010 representing UrbanHealthWatch.net. We were both very excited to meet US Surgeon General, VADM Regina M. Benjamin who gave a very uplifting and inspirational closing speech. Here’s a video of her speaking about obesity. She, along with Michelle Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (who also spoke at Health Action 2010) announced plans on January 28th to “help Americans lead healthier lives through better nutrition, regular physical activity, and improving communities to support healthy choices.” (HHS) In her speech at Health Action 2010, Benjamin called for all Americans to focus on being physically fit at any size and not focus on being too thin. This is a much more realistic goal for many (especially younger women and girls) who tend to fall prey to the latest diet trends that, while they may cause a loss of weight, are anything but healthy.

“Americans will be more likely to change their behavior if they have a meaningful reward–something more than just reaching a certain weight or dress size. The real reward is invigorating, energizing, joyous health. It is a level of health that allows people to embrace each day and live their lives to the fullest without disease or disability.” – VADM Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., Surgeon General


Families USA Health Action 2010 Conference Update!

NativeJournalist.com Press Pass

WASHINGTON, DC – Thus far, the Families USA Health Action 2010 conference has been overwhelming…in a great way! I am a little drained, but so very inspired and excited to do my part in the health reform movement. Below are some noteworthy quotes from speakers at this weekend’s conference:

“We need reform because the current system is fundamentally flawed.” – Kathleen Sebelius, Department of Health & Human Services

“Stop letting perfect be the enemy of ‘very good’…our system currently rewards volume over value…insurance companies should be responsible to its policy holders, not its stock holders! Beat back lies and misinformation and make health care reform happen now!” – Sen. Al Franken (D-MN)

“Women pay 48% more for health care coverage”…Why this issue matters if you think it doesn’t: If you have health care coverage today, you might not have health care coverage tomorrow! – Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)

“People who talk about family values, don’t value families!…Keep it broad; health care is just one part of the human rights movement!…When we think ‘all’ or ‘nothing,’ we usually get nothing.”- Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP <- This man is AMAZING!!!

Upcoming weekend events: "American Indian Health Policy: Where We've Been and Where We're Going" with Jennifer Cooper, National Indian Health Board; Michael Mahsetky, Indian Health Service; Cara Thunder, American Indian Community House as presenters and Donald Warne, Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman's Health Board as the moderator. I'm really looking forward to this workshop! I will be sure to let you know all about it!!

…That's all for now. More to come!


Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – Last night President Barack Obama spoke to Congress and the nation during the annual State of the Union Address. Check out the video below if you missed any of it or want to hear it again. Topics covered were: the economy, including the stimulus bill and jobs; the environment, including the energy and climate bill; education, including tax credits and pell grants; health care, including Michelle Obama’s plan to end childhood obesity and the health care bills; defense, including national security and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; and, discrimination, including equal pay laws. As usual, Obama supporters were enamored by his eloquence and inspiring and encouraging words. Unfortunately, not all members of congress were as excited about what the president had to say. There were many members of Congress who stayed in their seats while the rest of the house gave Obama a standing ovation.

I had the privilege of watching the address while in Washington, DC on Capitol Hill at the Hyatt Regency hotel with the Health Action 2010 conference.

More to come…


President Obama aims to inspire young people as the new school year begins

Obama speaking to a elementary school students
Obama takes time to speak to elementary school students

Obama will be delivering the annual Presidential Back-to-School address via webcast tomorrow at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia which will be shown in some schools across the country. You can read the text of his speech beforehand by clicking the link below. (It’s definitely worth a read! But, really, would you expect anything less from this eloquent wordsmith?)

Here’s a passage that really spoke to me:

Where you are right now doesn’t have to determine where you’ll end up. No one’s written your destiny for you. Here in America, you write your own destiny. You make your own future.
That’s what young people like you are doing every day, all across America.
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time.

Read the entire speech at the Wall Street Journal online.


Graduate Horizon’s Traditional Night Slideshow Presentation (Junior Year Abroad)

Here is a slideshow of some of the photographs I took during my junior year abroad in Spain. I lived in Seville (first semester) and Madrid (second semester) and fell in LOVE with Spain. The photographs in the slideshow are of some of the sights I saw in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, and Portugal. Warning: You may feel a strong desire to visit Europe after looking at my photos! 😉 Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Amy's Jr. Year Abroad
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“I Get Out” (song by Lauryn Hill)

a little lauryn hill inspiration…

I get out, I get out of all your boxes
I get out, you can’t hold me in these chains
I’ll get out
Father free me from this bondage
Knowin’ my condition
Is the reason I must change

Your stinkin’ resolution
Is no type of solution
Preventin’ me from freedom
Maintainin’ your pollution
I won’t support your lie no more
I won’t even try no more
If I have to die, oh Lord
That’s how I choose to live

I won’t be compromised no more
I can’t be victimized no more
I just don’t sympathize no more
‘Cuz now I understand
You just wanna use me
You say “love” then abuse me
You never thought you’d loose me
But how quickly we forget
That nothin’ is for certain
You thought I’d stay here hurtin’
Your guilt trip’s just not workin’
Repressin’ me to death
Cuz now I’m choosin’ life, yo
I take the sacrifice, yo
If everything must go, then go
That’s how I choose to live
. . .

That’s how I choose to live
No more compromises
I see past your disguises
Blindin’ through mind control
Stealin’ my eternal soul
Appealin’ through material
To keep me as your slave

But I’ll get out
Oh, I’ll get out of all your boxes
I get out
Oh, you can’t hold me in these chains
I’ll get out
Oh, I want out of social bondage
Knowin’ my condition
Oh, is the reason I must change

See, what you see is what you get
Oh, and you ain’t seen nothin’ yet
Oh, I don’t care if you’re upset
I could care less if you’re upset

See it don’t change the truth
And your hurt feeling’s no excuse
To keep me in this box

Psychological locks

Repressin’ true expression

Cementin’ this repression

Promotin’ mass deception

So that no one can be healed

I don’t respect your system

I won’t protect your system

When you talk I don’t listen

Oh, let my Father’s will be done

And just get out

Oh, just get out of all this bondage

Just get out

Oh, you can’t hold me in these chains

Just get out

All these traditions killin’ freedom

Knowin’ my condition

Is the reason I must change

I’ve just accepted what you said

Keepin’ me among the dead

The only way to know

Is to walk then learn and grow

But faith is not your speed

Oh, you’ve had everyone believe

That you’re the sole authority

Just follow the majority

Afraid to face reality

The system is a joke

Oh, you’d be smart to save your soul

Oh, and escape this mind control

You spend your life in sacrifice

To a system for the dead

Oh, are you sure…

Where is the passion in this living

Are you sure it’s God you servin’

Obligated to a system

Getting less than you’re deserving

Who made up these schools, I say

Who made up these rules, I say

Animal conditioning

Oh, just to keep us as a slave

Oh, just get out

Of this social purgatory

Just get out

All these traditions are alive

Just get out

Superstition killing freedom

Knowin’ my condition

Is the reason I must die

Just get out

Just get out

Just get out

Let’s get out

Let’s get out

Knowin’ my condition

Is the reason I must die

Just get out

Gotta love Lauryn Hill.