Murder, She Wrote

by Danielle N. Hall


It’s taken me over a month to finally get this thought out…

What a year 2016 was! There were deaths of so many people who we’d come to know or admire over the years or who we came to know of after their deaths. There was Prince, Alan Thicke, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Muhammad Ali, George Michael, Janet Reno, Arnold Palmer, and then there was Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The list is much more extensive. In some way, the news of the deaths touched us. The controversial deaths, of the last two mentioned, troubled our core and shed more light on an epidemic of the abuse of power of those in authority. I’d like to turn your attention to yet another systemic problem that has claimed more lives than few: character assassination.

In the age where social media engagement is just as routine as laundering your clothes, we are privy to a host of people’s opinions: good, bad, or indifferent. I’ve observed some of the most hate-filled and inconsiderate expressions of many. Having differing opinions, from the topic of political preference to the topic of lifestyle, should not warrant the spewing of sentiments laced with venom.

I’ll refrain from naming any particular individual(s) because the issue stretches far beyond the contentious utterances of one person or a few people. Social media isn’t the only place where we witness these heinous accounts: we’ve been privy to them in our families, on our jobs, and EVEN in “the church”. I want to be very careful of finger pointing because I don’t want to be guilty of the very topic being addressed here. I think what’s important is that we individually govern our thoughts and understand that just because something is permissible to say, it may not be profitable.

Consider this: each word spoken is a seed that will take root and then grow into a plant you’ll have to eat the fruit of. 

A man’s stomach will be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; He will be satisfied with the consequence of his words. – Proverbs 18:20 (AMP)

I don’t know about you, but I’m a picky eater!

Sometimes, when people attack the character of others it’s because they’ve either not discovered or not acknowledged the truth about themselves. We all have a flaw or two and being hasty to cast judgment isn’t advisable. At times I’m impatient, easily angered, or lazy. I know that about myself and I acknowledge it.  I’ve also been guilty of speaking ill of others. You know what they say: when you know better, you do better. We ALL have room for improvement and before you part your lips to attack the character of another, just remember that one day you’ll have to eat the fruit.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.” – Proverbs 18:21 (AMP)

Dew Drops: Refreshing for the Soul

by Danielle N. Hall


What an exciting honor to have released my debut book: Dew Drops! 

After it’s conception in 2014, the baby has finally arrived!

Get your copy here:

Soul Food

by Danielle N. Hall


One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. While I’m grateful daily, it’s a national day of thanks where people pause to reflect on what and who they’re grateful for. Of course this is typically celebrated with family and friends sharing a meal full of all types of goodies. A couple of my personal favorites are my mom’s high demand potato salad and her macaroni and cheese. Surprisingly enough, she doesn’t eat mayonnaise so she has no idea how the salad tastes, but her potato salad is SO good that it’s often requested for both work and family functions. Ok, I’m getting hungry now just thinking about it! While I’m a fan of both the mac & cheese and the potato salad, what really make me happy are words of life: real soul food.

At a time when I began embarking upon my most recently completed endeavor, I wasn’t exactly sure how it would develop or even how it would manifest. I received the card below from one who is extremely dear to me: one whose leadership, mentorship, and friendship I value greatly. 

Minister Michelle D. Bennett is one who I give thanks for often.  Who I am in Christ today is largely in part due to the inspiration and impartation received from her. Just as a baby requires careful handling and appropriate nurturing, so do babes in Christ. While I had been attending church for quite some time and had been an active choir member, I lacked true relationship with God. After having briefly been under the tutelage of Minister Michelle, radical change began to occur.  Being gentle enough to gracefully communicate, yet being firm enough to push you beyond your comfort zone are among the many effective leadership assets that she possesses. I’m grateful to not only have been under her tutelage, but to also call her sister and friend. When one is a teacher, the relationship is assignment driven. When one is a friend, the relationship is affection driven. Proverbs 17:17 (MSG) reads: “Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.” 

Something I also know about true friends is they will not ever leave you hungry. The card that I received was just the type of nourishment my soul needed to help me get through moments of self doubt and moments of procrastination. Every person that is in your space may not be worthy of the title “friend”. If you are hungry and your “friend” doesn’t offer you food or the means to obtain nourishment, then you may want to reconsider that person’s position in your life. Those who are your friend will feed you things as lovely as my mom’s potato salad and her mac & cheese. Know this: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb: sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.” Proverbs 16:24 (AMP) 

If you come to my house then you should plan to eat…as a matter of fact, that’s exactly what “Danielle’s Place” is all about: it’s a spot where you can stop by and get some soul food. 

The Pressure Before the Push

by Danielle N. Hall


I’ve had a host of memorable experiences in my lifetime, but something that left an indelible impression on me was the pregnancy and childbirth experience! I’ve had this great pleasure 3 times and EACH time was a different experience. Of note, is the journey to Maurice’s arrival: the debut of the second child. What a journey it was from the beginning to the end! I’m here to tell you alllll about it. Take a peek into my history…

Picture it…Washington, DC…2002. In the wee hours of the morning of May 12th I wasn’t feeling too well. I wasn’t alarmed, but I was feeling hopeful. To my pleasant surprise, I discovered I was with child. The added joy of this news is that the discovery was made on Mother’s Day! I was so grateful because I was confident that God had been unhappy with me and I wouldn’t be able to bear any more children. This was a significant experience of God’s grace towards me. I will NEVER forget how that made me feel. The joy was overwhelming, but then the real journey began and there were some tough moments.

In the first few months, I wasn’t able to keep down any water, ginger ale, soup, crackers, or anything else. The doctor’s response to this was the prescribing of Phenergan suppositories which were ineffective. Additionally, I would get severe headaches and I blacked out a couple of times. I was then prescribed Duradrin which seemed to be helpful. While I was indeed still grateful for grace, I have to admit I was NOT enjoying this part of the process. It gets even better, though! As much as I am a seafood lover, I recall being really excited about our to-go order from the Fish Market in Clinton, MD. We arrived home and proceeded to dig in. Unfortunately, both the smell and sight of the seafood made me severely nauseous. How could this be??? Time progressed and I began to crave very strange things: alphabet soup was one. The even more strange thing is that I would get sick if I waited too long to satisfy my craving and I would get sick each time I ate the soup. All of these foods my body rejected somehow translated into massive weight gain. I’m still perplexed about that. I also experienced consistent swelling of the ankles and very dry skin. This was a whole new world for me, especially since the previous pregnancy was much more calm and delightful. Oh, but there’s more…

A little after the midway mark, I began to not be able to sleep in a lying position and had to start sleeping in a sitting position with my back against a back rest pillow. The third trimester arrived and so did labor pains. I paid multiple trips to labor and deliver: long before he was due. I would have consistent contractions, but no dilation. I was prescribed yet another medication: terbutaline. My understanding was that this would alleviate the contractions and also help with asthma. That was a bonus since I was asthmatic during that time. Well, I can’t say that I was surprised, but the meds didn’t stop the contractions and it actually made me begin to have problems with asthma more. I was placed on bedrest in November with a due date of January 18th. This journey had been less than ideal, yet I was grateful still.

On one of the later trips to L & D, I received the first of a series of two shots in my rear to help strengthen the lungs of little Maurice in the event that he decided to arrive before his scheduled time. This was followed by a second visit 24 hours later to receive the 2nd shot. Did I mention that this was around the 11pm hour?! Fortunately, he decided to hang around inside for a little while longer.

The infamous day finally came! At 37 weeks, on December 31st, the contractions were truly coming and THIS TIME, I was not being sent back home empty handed. The contractions grew stronger and I wisely made sure I got an epidural. The problem was it kept feeling like it was wearing off too fast…this wasn’t good. By the time I was about 5cm dilated, I felt this extreme pressure to push. I was afraid because I knew it wasn’t time, but it sure felt like it. I got a few boluses to relieve this feeling, but the pressure was so strong. I was only halfway dilated and I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was quite an emotional experience. Several hours had passed. I was exhausted from resisting the urge to push and I was hungry. I snuck some of the Starlight mints I had developed a craving for earlier during the pregnancy. I also had some mini chewy Sweetarts. Unfortunately, this didn’t mix well with anesthesia so I got really sick. I grew increasingly frustrated because my body and proper timing weren’t in sync. When I had reached the time to push, I was almost too tired to do so due to all of the festivities before hand: extra anesthesia, nausea, and mental exhaustion. The time was here so I had to suck it up and rise to the occasion. The difficulty didn’t end before the push: it continued. Due to exhaustion, my strength was declined and little Maurice required the assistance of the doctor’s hands: that’s a nice way of saying the doc reached “in” and pulled him out because his shoulder was stuck. He was turning blue and needed a bit of stimulation to let us know he was ok. He did just that and I was finally relieved. WHAT A JOURNEY! I’m proud to say that he is a thriving, young man who has overcome many obstacles: including shoulder dystocia from the time of his arrival.

I shared this experience because when we spiritually conceive, it is a joyous occasion. As the journey progresses, we can encounter all sorts of challenges: discomfort from the baby growing inside, cravings for things that only will make sense to the one carrying, and the pressure to deliver before it’s time. This experience may exhaust you and you, too, may require a little birthing assistance. It is my prayer that whatever it is you’re carrying will be carried to term and will thrive when delivered.

Sweet Somethings

by Danielle N. Hall


Remember when you were…well nevermind about how old you were, but remember that time when you heard those whispered babbles in your ear and you felt warm and fuzzy? Well, those are what are known as sweet nothings. According to one source, “sweet nothings” are affectionate, but unimportant words spoken to a loved one (usually whispered in his or her ear). I’m a firm believer, however, that #ALLwordsmatter. Sometimes, those sweet words are just what we need to calm a troubled spirit, to soothe an aching soul, or to quiet a noisy mind. Therefore, I choose to call kind or affectionate words, that are uttered by others toward me, sweet SOMETHINGS.

These sweet somethings featured above are just a few highlights of what I’ve received over the past 24 hours. Flowers are best when one is alive and able to receive them. These sweet somethings are like flowers to me. They are pleasant, they are mood enhancing, and they are meaningful.

Perhaps it’s crossed your mind to buy flowers for a loved one or for someone you care about, I submit to you to consider offering a different kind of sweet something: words of life. 

“A soothing tongue speaking words that build up and encourage is a tree of life…” – Proverbs 15:4a (AMP)

Don’t hesitate to be kind and to speak kindly to others. Unexpected kind words can be just as effective as an unexpected bouquet of flowers: they are sweet somethings. I’ll leave you with this note: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet and delightful to the soul and healing to the body.”-Proverbs 16:24 (AMP)

The Unusual Suspect 

by Danielle N. Hall


Last night, I had one of those “box of chocolates” experiences: I had no idea what I was gonna get. I was sooooooo excited about the scheduled dinner meeting I had and the new activities that would result from it. I EVEN arrived 30 minutes early…I’d take credit for that, but honestly traffic was on my side. I relaxed in my vehicle as I awaited my guest. My guest arrived and we proceeded to have our planned dinner and discussion…what a fruitful fellowship!!! It soon became apparent that closing time was upon us. As we were leaving, we became aware of the heavy rain storm outside and we got ourselves together and got in our respective vehicles and left.

Just a few moments after departure, I realize that my vehicle was moving pretty slow, but I thought it was because of excessive water on the street from the storm. I continued to drive slowly until I reached a nearby gas station. When I got there I saw that my rear, passenger side tire was flat. A few calls, some time, and $65 later I was back on the road.
By now, I’m exhausted and want to lay my head down. However, because I hadn’t eaten much at dinner, I was still wanting food. I grabbed something quick and headed home with hopes of enjoying it and relaxing. What happened next was faaaaaar from relaxing. I parked, grabbed my things, and headed to my door. While attempting to turn my key in the door, I kept getting resistance and the door handle was like it was being held down from the inside. Also, I heard one of the wooden trays that’s right by the door fall. After several futile attempts, I must admit that I began to panic and think the worst…I thought someone uninvited was in my home! I hastened back to my car and went to a nearby parking lot where police are typically present. Unfortunately, no one was there. Additionally, I repeatedly tried to reach my children on the house phone and their cell phones…all to no avail. I called the Mr. and then the police. The Mr. and the authorities arrived and got the keys to enter the house. They checked the perimeter first and after banging on the door they entered with the key. With guns drawn they walked through only to find that my teenagers were apparently fast asleep and the suspect holding the door handle down was THIS GUY:

Though I was relieved to know my babies were ok, my adrenaline was on extended release mode. 

As if the above wasn’t enough excitement, when I finally got settled down, there was this sudden noise at my bedroom window. The time at this point was around 2am and I really did not have the energy to be dealing with any more suspense type situations. It didn’t take long to decipher what was going on. Evidently, we didn’t get the memo about the scheduled power wash for our bedroom window 😒 The pop-up sprinkler thought that our window was a great target. 

Somehow, after all of these interruptions and disturbances, I managed to close my eyes and get a little bit of rest. I’m grateful that my babies are fine, my tire is now repaired, and my bedroom window is clean…


Wait Well

One of the hardest things to do in life is wait…

“The common man prays, ‘I want a cookie right now!’ And God responds, ‘If you’d listen to what I say, tomorrow it will bring you 100 cookies.”–Criss Jami

Romans 8:25 (AMP) But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure. 

May God grant you the grace to wait well for your 100 cookies!

Out of the Woods

by Danielle N. Hall


There are those nervy few who find it exhilarating to play with fire. If I can be honest, I felt that way at one point in life…living on the edge and being impulsive to the point of fault. If you dared me to do something, I’d oblige. Fortunately, as I grew older I also grew wiser. Most importantly, being a mother has heightened my need to protect and be protected.

My children are precious to me and the thought of the presence of any danger to them puts me on warrior mode. Yet, before God allowed me to birth them, I lived life a bit on the wild side. I had spontaneous thoughts and spontaneous actions to follow. Every time I reflect on my “then”, I thank God for grace! If we are honest with ourselves, we can say we’ve done some unwise things. This is where I’ll insert the praise break starter “BUT GOD…!!!” 

When you mature, you recognize that life is about more than fun. I’m certainly not suggesting that you can’t enjoy life…it’s a gift and who wants a gift they can’t enjoy??? What I am saying is when fun is your focal point, you can miss out on some of the greatest things life really has to offer and you can find yourself being caught up in unnecessary peril. I speak from a place of experience.

I vividly recall an incident from my adolescent years. I was at a bus stop and decided that I didn’t feel like catching a bus that day and I wanted a ride. One showed up and without reservation I hopped in the car. I then found myself in an abandoned apartment building with a man who had a briefcase with God knows what in it. We went upstairs to one of the units. There was a dresser and a bed in the unit. I checked out my surroundings and I spotted an ink pen on the dresser. I remember thinking the following: “If this man touches me, I’m gonna use this pen in his eye to defend myself.” Here I was, in an abandoned apartment, with a very strange stranger, and was contemplating how I was going to defend myself: how frightening! That was one time I can say that I truly feared for my life. Fortunately, I got away unharmed and untouched.

This account is a prime example of spontaneous thoughts followed by spontaneous actions that turned out to be unwise. Now before casting judgment, to understand one’s choices, you must consider his/her experiences. Refer to one of my previous posts entitled “Dirty Little Secrets and The Little White Lie.”

The beauty in this is that I’m out of the woods and I’m still here today to share the story with you so that you may think before you act. What may seem like it’s harmless, or is just fun, can be more detrimental than perceived. Again, I’m older and wiser and I’m a mother. With any position there is an accompanying level of responsibility. In my position as mother, I understand the importance of considering consequences before acting. I endeavor to stay out of the woods. The same is true with my position as a Christian. I’m not professing to be perfect…I do falter at times, but I try hard to practice what I teach/preach. I believe our examples are impactful messages. 

Here’s a final thought:

Proverbs 9:11-12 (VOICE)

Lady Wisdom: “Through me your days will be lengthened, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, wisdom is its own reward. If you mock what you don’t understand, you alone will suffer the consequences.”

Remember Me 

by Danielle N. Hall


(In honor of the lives of the angels of Eastern Senior High School’s Class of ’95)

  • When you think of me, please remember the laughs
  • And how we would always cut up in class
  • When you think of me, please remember my smile
  • Even though you hadn’t seen it in a while
  • When you think of me, please remember my voice
  • That was developed under the leadership of Ms. Joyce
  • Garrett, that is, which could’ve gone without saying
  • I’ll miss her teaching, her leadership, and her playing
  • Oh, and don’t sleep on the skills of Mr. Anthony Boyd
  • We had to put in that work, but those times were thoroughly enjoyed
  • A force to be reckoned with…eagerly awaited to be heard and seen
  • DC’s best high school band: “The Blue & White Marching Machine”
  • When you think of me, please remember our times at “The Pride of Capitol Hill”
  • Where we had our own Joe Clark, you know, Mr. Neal
  • He didn’t carry a bat, but his presence commanded respect
  • And we had enough sense to not go down those center steps
  • Oh, but I was so glad when that day finally came
  • On June 9, 1995, a stamp was placed by name
  • We pursued the next level and went our own separate ways
  • However, I had held on to those good ol’ days
  • Some faces I hadn’t ever seen again because we were miles apart
  • But please rest assured that you both remained and had a special place in my heart
  • Though I have transitioned to yet another place
  • Please remember our time together and don’t forget my face
  • I had no idea of how short my life would be
  • I ask you to do me a favor: PLEASE REMEMBER ME

In loving memory of…

Keys Akers

Aisha Blunt

Jennifer Bumbray

Wendy Cromartie

Sherri Dockery

Shawna Hart

Kenneth Hodges

Yolanda Holt

Iona Johnson

Anthony Payne

John Peebles, Jr.

Liana Philpot

LeVar Pierce

Anthony Price

Harold Sutton

Sharron Willis