Ep. 17: Making Peace with Life’s Curveballs, with Vincent Hopson

Vincent Hopson is a remarkable member of his household. Born in Savannah, Tennessee, yes, there is one in Tennessee, Vincent has dedicated his life to his family. When things went topsy-turvy, he stood steadfast in the face of adversity—taking life one day at a time. His experiences dealing with an injury at work and then with his wife’s onset of dementia made him realize the importance of humility and how pursuing a godly life can make daily struggles less taxing.

Hear more about Vincent Hopson’s life lessons in this 17th episode of 3 Stores, 2 Cotton Gins, 1 Remarkable Life!

In this episode:

  • Leaving Savannah for Chicago and going back
  • How everyone thought he would be a good fit as a teacher
  • Enrolling in college, but realizing teaching wasn’t his calling
  • Getting a job in a nearby paper mill instead of getting a degree
  • His wife, Bertha, being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 6 years ago, and how that changed their lives
  • Finding relief in support groups
  • Allowing Bertha to do whatever she wants
  • Learning constantly about how to care for her
  • Finding peace at yard sales and junk stores with brother, Roger
  • Staying humble and kind
  • Leaving a legacy of a plain old Vince who cared about people and made a difference


Find out the details by listening to the full 3 Stores, 2 Cotton Gins, 1 Remarkable Life episode  on SpotifyStitcher and iTunes.


  • Things work out. They don’t always go by the plan, but they work out.
  • My philosophy of life is to always stay humble, to realize that it’s not about me, and always treat people how I want to be treated.
  • Always try to put God first. Sometimes the world can slip between you and God. Sometimes we take our eyes off God for a little bit, but the main thing is to put God first in our lives and things will be all right.

Memorial Day Is A Time Of Honor, Appreciation

Memorial Day

“…For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it…” National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, at the inauguration of the 46th U. S. president.

Continue reading

Ep. 16: Going far with a love for learning with Dr. Jo Zanice Bond

Dr. Jo Zanice Bond’s love for learning has taken her far. Hailing from Brownsville, TN, she found herself pursuing a Ph. D. and eventually becoming a professor at Tuskegee University. Her life experiences opened her eyes to the importance of persistence, and revealed why ‘elbow grease’ pays off eventually. It also showed her the big responsibility of nurturing young minds and the importance of the African diaspora in her school community.

Hear more about Dr. Bond’s amazing feats in this 16th episode of 3 Stores, 2 Cotton Gins, 1 Remarkable Life!

In this episode:

  • Leaving Brownsville and how far she’s gotten
  • On Dr. Bond’s love for learning and pursuing a Ph. D.
  • Becoming a professor at Tuskegee University
  • The important women who have been a part of Tuskegee University
  • How the African diaspora converges in Tuskegee
  • Speaking to students from diverse backgrounds
  • How her birth order inspired her desire to teach and to learn
  • Why persistence pays off
  • How entrepreneurship influenced her dissertation


Find out the details by listening to the full 3 Stores, 2 Cotton Gins, 1 Remarkable Life episode  on SpotifyStitcher and iTunes.


  • “I don’t make lots of plans. I just happened to get from here to there, and that has worked for me so far.”
  • “It’s important now as it was in the 60s or any time in history for our students, for young folk, to know that their opinions, ideas and their feelings are relevant, important, useful and meaningful.”
  • “Education is not neutral.”

Friends Are Friends


Friends stand up for each other

Whenever someone begins a sentence with “Some of my best friends are Black,” or I don’t see color,” I move them quickly into a category that tells me if they define their friends by color or identifiers, they’re probably talking about acquaintances, not friends.

Continue reading

Working Hard For The Money Or Hardly Working

I’ve been formally working since I was 17, and this is the first time I’ve heard of people having a disincentive to work. A couple of weeks ago we waited an hour to be seated at a restaurant because they didn’t have enough servers. The same thing happened during our Mother’s Day meal at another, supposedly for the same reason.

Continue reading

Ep. 15: How Failing Forward is the True Key to Success with Dr. Norma Jean Bond Burgess

Meet child #1 in the Bond family, Dr. Norma Jean Bond Burgess. She’s someone who has built a fulfilling career in academia and has been a great inspiration to her family and each student and colleague she has interacted with.

But what really pushed Dr. Burgess to this point? She reflects on the guiding principles in her life, her role as the Bond family’s oldest child, and how she reframed the way she views leadership in this newest episode of 3 Stores, 2 Cotton Gins, 1 Remarkable Life.

About the Guest:

  • Dr. Norma J. Bond Burgess, Professor, Associate Provost for Diversity, Inclusion and Special Initiatives, Lipscomb University (TN)
  • Dr. Norma J. Bond Burgess is President Elect of the National Council on Family Relations (President elect 2020-2022 and President 2022-2024).
  • Dr. Burgess was selected as a “Women of Influence” by the Nashville Business Journal for 2021.
  • A successful businesswoman, Burgess has been recognized nationally for her work. A powerful motivational speaker, she has a sense of humor and is committed to sharing strategies for integrating work, family and success.


In this episode you will also discover:

  • Pursuing and making opportunities
  • Dr. Burgess’ guiding principles in life
  • Dr. Burgess’ favorite role and on being child #1 in the Bond family
  • On being scared of failure but learning its importance
  • Learning to listen to help people succeed
  • On representation and influencing students’ lives
  • Taking control of your own life
  • The lessons that helped Dr. Burgess become successful


Find out the details by listening to the full 3 Stores, 2 Cotton Gins, 1 Remarkable Life episode  on SpotifyStitcher and iTunes.


  • “When you experience life, you’re not always thankful for the things you get, but each one of those days gave me many things that I’ve been able to put into practice now.”
  • “Nobody told me that I couldn’t do anything, so I started doing all the things that came my way.”
  • “The things you do will follow you throughout your life.”
  • “When people help you develop plans, they’ll help you succeed in those plans.”

Do And Say Something

Do and say something

Do and say something… your voice matters

I believe we have a voice for a reason. With that in mind, I keep using mine in places where I think it will matter. I work diligently to formulate messages so I’m heard and understood, but I know that my voice, and yours too, is often drowned out by the chaos and loud chatter that makes the world confusing, unwelcome, and frustrating.

Continue reading

Today Is An Occasion For Celebration


Let’s Celebrate Our Good Earth and Increased Vaccinations

Today is an occasion for celebration—I don’t need an excuse other than being alive—but as I offer three reasons why, I hope you will join me. First, more than 200 million people have been vaccinated, the George Floyd trial has ended, and Earth Day gently reminded us to pay attention to how we’re living.

Continue reading

Stress Awareness Is The Name Of The Game This Month

Stress Awareness

Every day is a day of thanksgiving isn’t just a catchy song title, it’s a reason to get up, get dressed, meet the day and see what amazing things are happening. Yes, I am a glass half full thinker and I make no apology, especially since COVID and its restrictions offered new opportunities to be better, kinder, and gentler. Observing National Stress Awareness Month during April is an excellent way to be proactive about healthier living and virtually everything else.

Continue reading