We had the good fortune of connecting with Brenda A. White and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Brenda A., any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I know why I started so, I never give up. I might try a different approach, but I never give up. This question had me ponder my entire life to whether I had ever given up or kept going.

“You might get tired, but never give up!” My mother said those words to me when I left for college. She told me that I’d have some tough days, but no matter how tough, I should never give up on whatever I attempt to accomplish. Her words, deeply rooted in biblical truths, became one of my mantras. While those words still ring constantly in my head, I know there are times when I must abandon specific tasks or even slow down but never abort the mission. In my freshman year, I faced a boatload of obstacles, some I created, some I did not. Higher education — a degree from a four-year brick-and-mortar university was the mission, no matter what. I didn’t complete the original degree nor the original college, but I still obtained a degree from an accredited university with a different technical degree. I have a two-try rule, make the necessary adjustments, think through the pieces on the board, then try for the third; if it still doesn’t work, then back to the drawing board with questions… did I misunderstand God’s direction? Do I need more knowledge? Do I need help? Lord help me! I take a moment, take a breath to get myself together, then keep going.

In the early 2000s, I completed my first marathon, 26.2 miles! My goal was to finish the race. I trained for eight months before showtime. Thousands of participants lined up in our expected completion times, we heard the start gun, and the crowd started moving. My shins started hurting; my breathing was labored before I made it a half-mile. I thought, “what the heck am I doing? What is the purpose?” And I quickly remembered, you trained for this, you’re running for the little boy with leukemia, and all those people who believed in you with their donations. I adjusted my stride, slowed my pace, caught a good rhythm, and I kept going. I met a lot of friendly people on the route. Mile 13.1, “I could stop here; the half-marathon is complete, but no, stay in front of the Pacer and get to 26.2.” Mile 16, “Oh snap, there’s a Charlie Horse in the right hamstring.”

Stop and stretch, then keep going. Mile 18, “now why am I doing this again?” I regained focus; you trained for this, you’re running for the little boy with leukemia, and all those people who believed in you with their donations. I stayed in front of the Pacer through mile 18; there was no need to board a bus for a forced abandoned mission. Mile 19, another forcible contraction in my hamstring, every extended step to run, and the contraction returned, 7.2 miles to go. You can do this! I trotted, shuffled, walked at a swift pace for seven miles, and then ran through the finish line for .2 miles. I wanted to give up so many times, I mean, they give you at least two options to do so, but I’m not wired like that. I was not injured. I consider a Charlie Horse discomfort; I can deal with it. I pushed through to complete the goal of joining the small percentage of the US population who completed a full marathon. I kept going because I remembered why I started. I never give up.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I enjoy writing books to Teach, Inspire, Entertain, and Empower, I T.I.E., and I love it! While writing is not my primary focus, I love it with everything in me. I decided to turn a childhood dream of becoming an accomplished writer into reality. After several years on the journey, I published my debut novel, “The Best I Have to Offer,” and “The Final Offer five years later.” My novels are humorous and drama-filled love stories of bringing your complete self into a relationship while being pruned through joy, pain, and adversity. I have three books in the works currently.

It took me seven years to complete the manuscript for my first novel. The writing was not easy as it required a lot of discipline and consistency to accomplish. I took a risk because I wasn’t sure if people would enjoy reading my stories. My family and friends enjoyed them, and when I released them to the world, some people loved the first two novels, and some did not, but it didn’t kill me! The tough skin comes in handy here. I’m still writing, and I still love it! I learned from the feedback, both positive and constructive. I was excited when my contribution, “Not Daddy’s Girl,” was chosen for the anthology “The Ex Chronicles” with Brown Girls Books. I was proud to be among 19 talented writers. We won the Best Short Story Award from the African-American Literary Awards, we made the AALBC National Best Sellers List, and the nation-wide book club, Go On Girl, read our book and provided feedback!

There’s so much more I could say about my journey, but I’ll sum it up to this. I matured during the process of writing and publishing. I had to learn new things, read new books, participate in more writing workshops, and love my story from beginning to end, but not be married to it because editors will suggest changes to make the story more cohesive.

I want everyone to win! I have a genuine interest in people and their stories. I enjoy learning about different cultures, food, backgrounds, education, etc. I truly believe everyone can live out their dreams and become successful at something. I am a certified coach, trainer, author, and speaker who would lean in and learn as much as I can about anyone I’m conversing with at the moment.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’d start Sunday at The Church Without Walls for praise and worship! Some of the food, photo, and historical spots we would visit or grab take-out include Astor Farm to Table in Katy, The Breakfast Klub; This is It Soul Food, Davis Street, Water’s Edge Winery & Bistro, and Phil & Derek’s for delicious meals. We’d get in a few photos at the Waterwall Tower, Hermann Park, and Graffiti Park; and take in some history lessons at The Buffalo Soldiers Museum and the Houston Museum of African American Culture. I have a friend, a native Houstonian, who would take us on a historical drive around Houston heavily focused on 3rd Ward and finishing out Friday at UnWine on Almeda. We’d also explore the 3rd Ward Bike Tours. Wherever there is a missing meal, I’m optimistic we could fill it in with one of the restaurants from the Pappa’s chain. There are so many places to shop in Houston. If time permits between relaxing and running around town, we would undoubtedly release the shopping bug in the Galleria.

Cooking is not my passion; however, eating is, as you can see by the long list of restaurants I’d visit. 🙂 I have a friend, Ramona, with Food & Fun with Friends who does Virtual Cooking Parties. While her focus is to teach people how to cook, I’d prefer she cook for me, because her food is A-MAZING! I would support her business by skipping the cooking part and asking her to prepare several of our meals on the chill part of the week. We’d get in a few workouts with my crew and our trainer, Adrian Myles. Another friend, Arnetta, who owns Totally You Mobile Spa, would round out the week of activity with massages on Saturday.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There is so much and so many people who have supported me on my journey. So, I won’t start naming as I would definitely miss some people, but I mentioned several in my first non-fiction book, “Why Not Keep Up with the Joneses… behaving your way to success.” I have an amazing advisory board, sounding-board, mentors, and prayer warriors in my sisters, brothers, past and current colleagues and peers. and different sets of friends.

I’m usually reading at least two books: a fiction and non-fiction. I’m currently reading “The Personal Librarian” by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray and “Discovering Your True North… becoming an authentic leader” by Bill George. I’m listening to “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman.

Website: www.brendaawhite.com

Twitter: @brendaawhite

Facebook: Author Brenda A. White

Image Credits
Leslie McFall for picture with watermark LM

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