When people ask me how I got to be so smart, I give credit to my mother, Sheila Kingsberry-Burt. All of my life she has been a very vocal, articulate, intelligent, singer, poet, writer, educator, advocate, preacher, and fabulous lady. No matter where we have lived, no matter the condition of the dwelling on the outside, she kept my home very neat, artful, and filled with books of all kinds. She encouraged, no demanded, that I be smart, educated, and able to mentally and orally defend what I believed and fight for others when they were done wrong. So, I guess it’s inevitable that I’d be an attorney and preacher.
When people call me handsome or say I look good, I tell them I owe that to my mother as well. She had her hand in my physical attributes, naming me Hassan, which means “handsome” or “to make beautiful.” Instinctively, people ask am I Muslim or Arabic because of the origin of my name. When they ask, I know they definitely don’t know Sheila Kingsberry-Burt and my Christian, Baptist, Non-denominational, Charismatic roots. She raised me to love the Lord, Church, and Gospel Music. She raised me under the church, as people say, and in a home filled with The Clark Sister, The Winans, Walter Hawkins, Andre Crouch, Fred Hammond, Hezekiah Walker, James Hall, and all the contemporary Gospel and choir music one could ever know. I smile thinking of so many songs and her beautiful alto voice.
My mother also taught me to love my family and be a good man. Even before I knew what sex was, my mother told me to wait until I got married to have it and have it only with my wife and she meant it. I try to be a good husband and father because she encouraged me to be what I did not see growing up. I always promised myself that I’d have a good family and thankfully, God has allowed me to see this dream come true despite many challenges.
So, I owe a lot to my mother, but I also owe a lot to my beautiful wife. You see, I have a sure enough good woman who gave me four beautiful children (RIP Amira) and takes good care of me and them, sacrificing her own career, because she’s Dr. Francemise Kingsberry, to nurture and care for our kids while they are young. She is the strength of my home. She’s my voice of reason who encourages me to do what God tells me and to live Godly no matter how hurt or offended I am or no matter how tired I get of doing for others with no outward reward.
I know first-hand that “he who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” I’ll never forget meeting her in music class at UNC and our eyes trying not to meet, but still looking. I remember her encouraging me to “Sing, Hassan” in various singing groups. So many good times we have shared! I still enjoy our walks and talks about life and where we are and what we want from life. We make plans and go after them together.
I am most thankful to Me-Ce, my wife’s nickname, for just being there for me through the hardest times in life--things I never thought would happen to me with all the promise my education held. Like when my mother had several massive strokes leaving her without the ability to walk or talk as she used to. My wife held me and helped me adjust when I realized things would never be the same. She willingly let me use all the financial resources we had to care for my mom and she stood up for me when people had things to say about what I should have did and will fight for me in a minute!
I can’t help but cry when I type this because I LOVE FRANCEMISE KINGSBERRY LIKE THAT!
She’s been with me through every transition. We went from thinking we adjusted to the situation with my mother to caring for a sick child, then losing a child. I watched Me-Ce hurt, but still say, “It will be alright because God will fight for us!” She persevered to give me children through miscarriages and rough pregnancies and she never objected or said I’m not doing this anymore. That’s my Me-Ce, a woman of character and faith.
Every day, I pray my children are like their mother and grandmother and we strategically named them, as my mom did me. And before I had a family, I promised God that after Him, I’d make them the highest priority and create an environment to make them strong, Godly people who accomplish all their goals and impact this World for Christ. I thank God for the foundation my mother laid and the one my wife is helping me lay.
Happy Mother’s Day to my two special ladies! I love you forever!
So, I have not written in this blog for a long time, but I had to start again because so many things have been on my mind! Prince died 4/21/16 and I am still a little messed up by it. I began my day 4/22/16 hoping it was all untrue, but no, it was real. My son had been asking me for weeks to take him fishing so I decided to take him and I am not a fisherman! In fact, we caught not one fish, but it was fun because he was so excited and happy about it. So, although the day began a little blah, it ended quite well. Even as I watch all the tributes and stories about the artist Prince, I’ve made my peace with it all.
It’s funny how everything in life is so connected. Even those seemingly totally unrelated things somehow intersect each other. My son is 3 years old and I don’t remember much from when I was 3, but I do remember not being able to say “three” and saying “tree.” I also remember singing Prince songs because my mother and aunt loved him and as I grew up I remember wanting to be a singer like Prince and dancing like him. I immediately grow nostalgic when I fondly remember Purple Rain, 1999, Sign O’ the Times, Under the Cherry Moon, so many albums and songs! Growing up in Arizona in the early 80's, he was one of the only black singers we had radio access to! Ironically, my maternal grandmother’s birthday is 4/20 and she lived in AZ until she died and now, Prince dies the next day. See, the connections!
Anyway, I kind of fell off listening to and following Prince as I grew older. My generation wasn’t too big on his music as we got older, but by my teenage years, Prince was already an icon. Plus, when I got “saved” I moved away from secular music all together just because my “interests” changed. However, I am still a fan and his music and life have moved me and been part of the soundtrack of my own life and I cannot be sad about Prince being gone for this reason: He made his mark! I’m not sure what he set out to do with his life, but I know if it was become a musical genius, he did it. Although, he died at 57, even if he never released another album or set another fashion trend or made us think “why is Prince so strange, but his music so bomb?!”, he made a undeniable, authentic, and unique mark . Of course, he had more he could do, but what he did was monumental. So monumental, that I am up assessing my own life.
Have I been going after what I really want in life? Have I carved my own path, not just the path I think sounds good or what I think others would like. Have I become the singer I always wanted to be? I’ve had several careers, experiences, friends—a very full life, but have I been true to myself and set a course that would at least get me close to the desired result of a life well lived. I can’t answer this fully now, but as I lay beside my son after a day of helping him accomplish his goal of fishing and making a memory for his life motion picture, I say “Thank God!” I wanted to be a father and do things like this with my son. And when I go, among many good things I want said about me, I want it to be said that I was one of the best fathers people knew and most importantly, I want my children to say it.
So, RIP Prince. Thanks for your life and music. We are reminded to shoot for the stars and reach our goals and to enjoy life, the people in our lives, and to make good memories.
In 1997, when I graduated from high school, I had to go on a wilderness expedition for a scholarship I received to attend college. It was three full weeks of hiking with a heavy backpack, no bath, sleeping out doors, using the bathroom outdoors, rattlesnakes, high mountains, etc. However, it was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned that I could be pushed beyond any mental limit and overcome fears to achieve anything.
As a part of this adventure, I had to sit alone for 3 days by myself, which you know was hard for me. It was myself, God, and nature. In that time, I remember writing some very compelling things in a journal that I still own today. I wrote prayers and plans. I prayed to God that He would use me to be a role model and example for the youth of my family and the place where I was from. I even received the vision for the ministry I pastor today. I prayed for one little cousin in particular: Dartez Wright. I prayed that God would bless him to make good choices, be great in whatever he did, and that I would be an example for him. God has been doing just that. He's a young adult now, an ambitious actor, and a soon-to-be family man. I am humbly proud of Him and to see that God is answering my prayers for Him and my other little cousins.
Years later, in 2003, Dartez played a special part in a big day in my life: the day Francemise and I got married. He was a jovial, little Jr. Groomsmen. He and my other little cousins had a good time meeting famous people in the lobby of the hotel where we stayed and Dartez, as usual, brought everyone joy. It as a good time!
Today, Dartez is getting married to a beautiful young lady named Philreca Martin. My wife and I have had the honor of being their friends and counselors through their journey of becoming one. I can't help but cry thinking that God answered my prayers over 18 years ago. I am thrilled to be one of the officiants for their wedding today and know that the blessing of God is on their lives and marriage already! So, we celebrate marriage and Dartez and Philreca's union and thank God for answering prayer and being the foundation of great marriages. Make it last forever!
So, I ran across a NC public school ranking article and saw that Warren County Schools was ranked 100. Although I felt some type of way, I admit and accept the challenges faced by rural, economically disadvantaged school systems. However, the condition and resources of your school cannot negate or keep one from their positive and productive destiny, unless one lets it.
I am a proud product of South Warren Elementary, Warren County Middle School, and Warren County High School! In fact, these schools and teachers built me up when I was torn down as a young black male youth in a higher ranking district. I was encouraged to be smart and rise above myths, statistics, and circumstance to pursue greatness!
Further, as an educator, I also got my start teaching at my Alma mater, Warren County High. The same challenges existed in Warren County when I was a teacher, but there was also great progress and innovation. Quality teaching is happening!
I tell you these lessons from it all: You can be your best no matter where you are from or live and still achieve! Use your opportunities wisely. Further, don't let others' opinions frame who you become and your world! Accept the truth and the challenge, but use it to build and motivate you! You can't please everybody and numbers don't always paint a full picture!
Warren County, stand up! (Oh, and parents, RAISE YOUR CHILDREN and don't leave it up to our schools alone.)
In my last blog entry, I announced the release of my first book, The Fourth Man Principle. As I said in the prior blog, I didn't know when and how to release it. I had been waiting and consulting, rereading and revising, assessing costs, etc. Then, one day last week, I just knew it was time to release it. There was no more need to worry about the content. I had nothing else to say and I didn't want anyone to change anything. I just let the chips fall where they needed to fall and let who needed to read and hear the message read and hear.
I'd lived the contents and it was time to move on. As long as I sat on the book, I knew I would still linger emotionally, mentally, and psychologically in a season that was over. It was time to finally let go of the pains, the disappointments, the exepctations, the ambitions, who I thought I was or wanted to be, that season of life. It was time to close that chapter and book, to write a new book, to live a new life, the life I've dreamed about, much of which is still unknown, but still I knew it's time...
It's like when I took the NC bar exam. It was 2009 and Amira had begun declining in health. I was teaching, but getting bored and disliking my boss. I knew it was time to do something different. I studied and had taken and passed one bar exam in 2005, but the summer of 2009 everything that could happen happened. Doctors visits, family members visiting, death in the family and amongst friends, you name it! Then the day of the exam, I sat down at the table and across from me sat a familiar face, a friend that I went to law school with years ago.
During lunch breaks we recounted the law and discussed the very things that ended up on the exam. I felt confident, but still this was no ordinary test and leaving the faigrounds on the last day of the test I had a flat tire, of all things! Months later, I found out I passed and I knew it was the grace and divine providence of God. Someone asked me how I did it because they had been out of law school a while and was thinking about taking the bar. I told them, I just knew it was time. Looking back, I saw that in spite of the adversity and chaos I dealt with while studying that summer, God had already orchestrated and set me up for success.
So, I tell you, today, "It's time!" Get over it (whatever your "it" is)! Get it out (that idea, that project, those words)! Move forward! Don't wait any longer. Don't ignore those promptings! If you keep observing the wind, you will not sow! (Ecclesiastes 11:4) If there's a dream inside of you, do it! The life you want to live, live it! If you know there's greater, pursue it and you will find it! Let the pains and disappointments go so you can grow and fulfill what only you can fulfill. God has already appointed your provision and ordered your steps, the certain and uncertain ones. Just go! Don't be moved by the opposition you'll face, the naysayers, the limitations. It's time! It's your time! Stop reading about it and be about it! Close the book!
Today marks the end of a journey that I embarked upon a few years ago. I have written my very first book! I wondered when I would finish it because I would write little pieces here and there. When people would inquire about my progress, I would answer, "I don't think I am finished living it yet."
I actually finished the book some time last year, but I've been trying to figure out when and how to publish and release it. After reading T.D. Jakes' book Instinct, I finally knew and felt this is the time! I have been consulting publishing companies and connections for some time and gathering information. However, today, I just felt this was the moment to seize and share the book.
The book is entitled The Fourth Man Principle and it is about dealing with personal adversity and knowing that God is with you to carry you through any test and trial you face. It's an easy read. It is autobiographical, inspirational, biblical, and practical. I discuss life challenges and what I have learned spiritually. I particularly deal with how my wife and I dealt with the loss of our precious firstborn child, Amira Elyse Kingsberry. There are a few tear-jerking pages, but don't let that stop you from buying and reading it. With every believer's story of pain, there is also victory. God has given us three more beautiful children! We thank and praise Him!
I encourage you to buy this book; it will bless and encourage you to move forward in your life purpose and Kingdom assignment no matter the adversity! Go to Amazon.com and purchase your copy right now!
I have not written in this blog since December, but all I can say is God is amazing! It has been a half year of His goodness! The major highlight is God giving my wife and I twin girls! What makes it so amazing is that God informed us beforehand that this would happen. I thank God that He is faithful! I thank Him for giving us 3 children after losing our first child, my precious daughter, Amira. The hardship we have endured in the process of building a family have been made worth it all. I just thank God! I don't know how people function without Him because God is truly AMAZING!
It’s time for another blog entry! Actually, it has been time, but I have been busy being very lazy, Christmas shopping, working out to compensate for all the eating I am going to do this Christmas, and relaxing with my family. As I already mentioned in my first blog entry, I have been making this holiday season my own personal season. I have been reading a book on
self-improvement (Nine Things You Simply Must Do to Succeed in Love and Life by Dr. Henry Cloud) and reflecting on who I want to be and what I want to do this coming year. Ironically, I watched several episodes of Iyanla, Fix My Life and found so much truth in the shows. Most people have seen the show, but in case you have not, Iyanla Vanzant helps people work through hard, life issues through counseling and confrontation.
Of course, I always try to take some helpful self-improvement hints from what I see and read. One particular episode
featured Terrell Owens, the former famous football star. Iyanla was helping him deal with the issues of his past that were keeping him from living a productive life and working in the NFL. One particular issue that arose was the fact that he did not know who his father was until he was eleven; this truth only came out when he liked a girl (who was also his neighbor) and was told by his father that he could not date her because he was her brother. Let me break that down: Terrell’s neighbor was his father and Terrell had a crush on his daughter. Terrell's mother slept with her (married) neighbor when she was sixteen and they kept it secret. That was a lot to handle, but these things happen in so many families. As one who grew up as a fatherless child as the result of immature and imprudent acts of adults, I understood.
What caught my attention is that Iyanla told Terrell that it was alright for him to be upset about it. During the interview, he often responded in a way to protect his mother instead of facing the reality of his true feelings about his life. I could relate to this because I have often denied my own feelings about childhood issues in order to protect my loved ones. Seeing this
interaction between Terrell and Iyanla was freeing for me. I received my own permission to be upset about bad things done to me by others and circumstances, beyond my control, that people put me in and it felt good. I didn’t lash out on anyone or anything, but I realized that a lot of the messy situations I have dealt with in life were beyond my control and not my fault and that I could be angry about it. We often seek to mute our emotions and responses as a way of coping with our issues; however, it hinders our growth, freedom, and recovery. I know the first step to getting over past hurts is not to mute my response. Acknowledge. Accept. Deal with it and move on.
Today, for the first time in a long time, I have done absolutely nothing. I have not sought anything to do and any place to go and no obligation has sought me either! So, I am enjoying lying around my house, playing with social media (actually using Twitter and setting up an Instagram account) running after my son, playing video games with my wife, and watching terrible movies on Hulu, Netflix, and Dish Network with various company. Funny enough, today, I actually am enjoying it. Usually, I must have something to do or I feel unaccomplished and aimless. When I stopped to think about and admit that a lot of my self-worth was wrapped up in activity, I resolved in 2014 to never allow this again. If I want to do nothing, then I will do nothing and I will still be important and fulfilled! This is a big resolve for me. I usually load up my time and schedule with singing, preaching, writing papers for classes, work, etc. When I have leisure time, I even load that up as well with movies, shopping, etc. Activity! Truthfully, I probably need to observe the Sabbath with Seventh Day Adventists and Jewish people, but that’s a little too much for me. However, I get the principle of rest and taking time to worship and reflect. So, I encourage you all to do the same. Do nothing every once and a while. Keep me accountable. Peace!
Welcome to the mind and heart of Hassan T. Kingsberry! This is my first ever blog and I am excited to finally embrace writing and sharing my feelings, thoughts, experiences, and life lessons with you (other than on Facebook). I pray you, the readers, will be encouraged and empowered to live your best LIFE--a fulfilled life centered on LOVE, INTEGRITY, FAITH, and EXCELLENCE!
So, it's my favorite time of the year, the Christmas Holiday Season! Besides getting a break from work to spend time with family and friends, it is my primary season of reflection. As I prepare for the New Year, I am much more introspective and I get more perspective and resolve to make the approaching year the best I have ever lived. This year is no different. I am excited about embarking upon becoming more physically fit, putting the finishing touches on and publishing my first book, and travelling to places I've always wanted to visit. The goal is that each year gets better than the year before.
If I had to come up with a theme for this blog, I would call it "This is Your Season." Just as the Holidays are a special season to commemorate the birth of Christ and to bring in a fresh new year, it is also a time to enjoy, reflect upon, celebrate, and recreate YOU! It's a time to make plans, assess the execution of the plans you made in the past, recharge, forgive, love, laugh, reconnect with dreams and people. While making the Holidays festive, take the time to enjoy and fully experience the only life you have to live--your own! Then, reflect on how you can enjoy it even more with decisions and purposeful action! Go inward some and make this your personal season.
There's nothing deep in this first blog. Just make this Holiday special by making it your own. Reflect this year on how you can maximize your life. I've come to understand that every moment is precious and you do not get "do overs." Set your course to fulfill every dream, reach every goal, and be the person you want to be (within the restraints of your budget and faith...) As you commemorate the birth of Christ and the life He came into the world to give, make sure you are living your best life with no regrets, minimal stress and heartache, fulfilling relationships, rewarding occupational pursuits, and helping others do the same. Have a wonderful day and great Holiday season!