Broke and Blessed

So the holidays have always reminded me of just how hard working my parents were and are. It reminds me of how blessed I really am.  It’s no secret that at one point my family and I lived in a shelter. I look at my children and they will never understand what that looks like or feels like. My mom didn’t allow me to feel ashamed or embarrassed. She let me know that I didn’t have to look like what I was going through. As I became a parent I like most wanted to go back to my childhood when I didn’t have bills.  As much as I wanted to be “grown” even in struggle it was easier than having to make the financial decisions to get a family through. Where are the days when my mom said, my only job was to get good grades? I sure would sign up to be in Ms. Dickinson’s class again with no cares. 

My mom worked hard.  She took a bus to get us to the sitter and then often times would walk to work.  She then walked to pick us up and on the bus we went home. When my parents married it was both of them working hard regardless of being sick, tired, or frustrated.  I remember my mom even taking a 3rd shift job working in a cookie factory.  She and my dad did what it took to keep the roof over our head and food in our bellies.  My parents probably had days like I have had when tears filled my eyes because I was either not working or working just to bring in an income. Either way if they could get through with grace then when I’m tired and frustrated so could I.

So as the holiday comes with shopping and giving I never forget where I came from. I am an extreme couponer. I’m no where like some of the others I know but for what I save for my family I’m doing well.  Better yet it has caused me to keep my family humble. I do not take for granted that some families don’t even have the ability to tap into gift giving for being in survival mode. For that reason I make sure that my kids understand that and give to others all year round.

Today I was humbled by someone giving to my family. The last time I saw that type of generosity was when I lived in the shelter. Organizations would always donate gifts and toys. But when you have so much going on and someone stops and blesses you it’s mind blowing. I explained to my oldest today that the things we have doesn’t just appear. It comes from hare work and the heart of others giving. We are as a family in the process of paying it forward.  We do it all year round but we especially find a way to do it around the holidays. I can’t remember one holiday when I didn’t get anything. My parents made sure. Even if that meant standing in line at places like Salvation Army for assistance.  

In the shelter I didn’t even know how broke and blessed I was until I became a parent. I remembered having my oldest and saving and buying while pregnant to avoid not having diapers and wipes.  I remember moving money around to cover unexpected expenses. I often think what my life would have looked like had my parents hadn’t shown me what struggle looked like.  I know as an adult that times will get hard. Although I don’t have to stress as much as my parents did,  I do have my own sense of knowledge that hard times produce strong people. 

The holidays when my dad was getting gifts out of the locked shed (he didn’t know we found his hiding spot) doing the Santa Claus laugh, I wonder now what was going on in his mind.  Was he like me at times making sure bills were paid and getting gifts even when things may have been tight? Was he over worked and tired as he picked up toys from layaway? Again as a parent you “understand” like my grandma would say. 

To all of the parents that are struggling and even at times getting gifts with hours to spare because you only had one check after bills were paid, I salute you. 

This will not be your story forever.  Your kids will grow up to do like I pray mine will, to understand that being broke and happy is a possibility. To know that you may not have all that you want but you have what you need.  To be grateful for their portion. To grow up and work hard not just to buy gifts but have a heart to bless others. I would admonish every reader to find someone to be a blessing to.  I know times are hard but trust me there is someone who will be blessed in more ways than one.  Even something small can be something great.

To my parents thank you.  I know you told me I would get it but like a typical child I just said it was crazy talk, but I get it now.  You both have taught me a great lesson and I want you both to know every holiday since becoming a parent and even after college I’ve seen life in a different light.  I know no matter the struggle, making good choices and doing what has to be done first will always leave the door for blessings to come my way.

To my husband who works hard to make sure that the things I need and want are there, I salute you. You and my dad come from 2 different backgrounds but I’ve seen the same push to do whatever hard work could produce for our family.

Please don’t spend so much time shopping for small moments that you one neglect your responsibilities. My parents provided and we had good Christmas memories but we were able to enjoy them with the lights still on.  Stay grounded and give to others.  You don’t have to make a spectacle but you can be a blessing.  

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31 Days and Change is Coming!

Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news or good news depending on how you see it, but a new Year is coming soon.  I know everyone will wait until after Christmas to start their new me, new this and that but wouldn’t be nice to do things a different this year?

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Instead of waiting, actually put an action plan in place.  How many years have gone by and you say the generic I want to do (insert desire) but you say it but don’t make a sure plan to do it?  I am sure quite a few.  It’s time to change that mentality and actually make a real plan.  Get things in order.  Get your house which can be the place you lay your head as well as your personal house the place where your soul and heart dwells together too.

Either way its time to do and not just talk.  I am serious.  Anything worth having is worth some work.  I know we are used to instant.  We want an update, instant.  We want food, drive through-instant.  We want to shop-instant.  Now you can shop without even having to get out of your car to pick it up.  We are used to the right now.  Let’s take that same mentality and put some action behind it.  For my house we do a vision board party.  We go and get some supplies, use my old magazines and get it done.  Some people are visual like me and it helps to see what I need to do.  So for instance my house has their vision boards in their rooms.  So we look at it often and talk about what we can do to complete a certain goal.  We have completed quite a few individually and collectively.  Yes the kids have their own too.  Now for them it may seem more of an art project, but can you imagine them getting in their spirit now how to get a plan and work their plan? They are going to have the potential to be great in their own rights.  It’s never too early to get the little people thinking in the right direction.

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So what say you?  You spending time only getting things right for the holidays?  Your future can wait right?  Nope.  Get a jump-start now.  For instance the dreaded lose weight that people want to do yearly.  You only go hard for the first 2 weeks maybe month in January but that’s it.  Why not hang your ideal wish outfit at your eyesight.  Get a new gym bag and actually pack it.  Get you a new water bottle.  Get you some indoor videos or work out gear so that when it snows or rains you can still push.  Hope about use the holidays the time to get it.  Catch the sales.  Give others who ask your list and go from there.  Again you can work it if you are about a little action.  Get a new work lunch bag that you love. It will help you plan ahead so you can begin packing healthier snacks instead of change for the vending machine or not eating at all.  See how that works?

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How about the new job plan?  Have you had someone take a fresh pair of eyes to your resume?  Have you printed new copies to go into your padfolio for the upcoming interviews you are going to score?  Have you gotten a new interview outfit and shoes?  Sales people. Use this time wisely.  Even if you hate the holidays you can still love these discounts.  Have you updated the many useful job search websites?  Have you gone to a few networking events that are held now during this holiday season?  No.  Then you have not exhausted all of your means.  Finding a new job is sometimes a full-time job.  You need to be spending your time working a new plan now and not wait until the influx of resumes start loading up on New Years day.  Will people hire during the holidays?  Not necessarily but they so start looking and putting their plans into place.

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This new way of thinking can be applied to all areas of your life.  So its time to get moving towards your new future.  It’s all in how you create it. One can’t simply pray without works.  What are you worth?  I hope you see the value in yourself so others can see the same thing.  Put your action to where you mouth is….

The World is on the Edge

Well we now know that Donald Trump is our president. I watched ALL the results.  So you can imagine that on my first day back to work today since my MIL past has been extra gloomy. I need to say what I am feeling today.  My heart is heavy.  I don’t feel like we shall overcome right now.  I don’t want to grab my neighbor and pat them down.  I am feeling lousy.  I know this too shall pass but since I am not in the passing mark, I got to vent.

I have a deep pain in my heart.  I mean I get what happened but it doesn’t make it right.  I know there are Trump supporters that are in a state of glee. I am not one who shares in those same sentiments.  To rally behind Trump knowing all the things he did to spew hate, separation, and ignorance doesn’t make sense.  I still don’t get all of his policies and feel like at this point I will just have to watch and see what unfolds.  Like how many times can someone ask you what you stand for and you constantly don’t have a clear plan?

My kids were mad this morning when we told them.  My son asked me if Trump who has been bullying people with his words will make an environment at school where more bullies can pop up. I had no answer for him.  I wanted to say no son it will be just fine but since I parent from a place of honesty I can’t sell him a dream I don’t believe in.  What was I supposed to do lie?  Not happening here.  I told him to let us know like we have always encouraged him to do.  I encouraged him to talk to his teacher.  I encouraged him to keep his hands to himself unless it’s in self-defense.  I made sure he knew that at his school he should be okay but if not I am a call away.  I couldn’t mince my words. I can’t give him rhetoric.  He needs to understand what he is up against.  He is old enough to get it better than some adults.  By all means if you have been following my blog you know I don’t advocate violence but I am not in any means going to tell my kids to get his ass beat and just sit there with no kid.  The police?  That’s a different story and a different conversation.  Kids?  Naw.

I am not asking for others to feel my pain in the same way that I am dealing with it.  I am just expressing where I am so I can move forward and find ways to protect my family.  The idea that sexism is not going anywhere makes me sick.  I said on my Facebook post yesterday:

I had a conversation with a male friend. My problem with the election is that sexism and racism seems to have won. My question is for males especially since women are usually objectified, where do your conversations go now? When you sit up with your male friends making comments that are disheartening, than what? I got some of the most woke males on my page dropping jewels and them same males would drop some of the most misogynistic comments towards women with respectful mothers and beautiful daughters in their home, so what is now your plan going forward? You are just a part of the problem.I’m not biting my tongue about these issues and expected to look at my daughters and tell them it’s gon be aight. We all want to rise up for race but leave women at the bottom of the barrel… Not no more.
Do you understand that statement above?  It’s not just because Clinton didn’t win. She came in to the race with a lot of baggage that the world wasn’t willing to accept.  The bigger picture is if you had to weigh both candidates we choose to make sure that a woman wouldn’t be in power and rolled the dice on a candidate that comes off as misogynist, racist, etc.  That sends chills up my spine just typing it.  I know some won’t agree.  Some had said that the devil you know is better than the one who you don’t.  In some respects that is true but when the devil is selling you a plan that you know isn’t in the best interest of the whole picture that is definitely scary business.
I have no answers.  I know that eventually things will get worst before it gets better.  I saw online where KKK are marching down south declaring Trump’s victory.  One of my co-workers daughter’s school has already had fights this morning because students were debating the election.  Another family member of mine states that her daughter is in class where students are calling brown and black students niggers.  I know it to be true not just because she is family, but because I went to the same district years ago and had the same exact thing happen to me.  So again I am not out evoking fear.  However I can afford to turn a blind eye to the mess either.  I wish everyone safety and that hopefully we can find a place of love.  My reality shows me that some will and some won’t.  I pray that the ones who won’t will be dealt with justly and swiftly.
I read someone say why can’t we love and move on.  I love all.  My intent is to show love. My intent is to treat everyone around me the same that I would want to be treated.  I live in a reality where the same sentiments will not be given to me or my family.  I love wiht a strong dose of reality and preparedness.

Because HE is enough, Good Friday edition!

Forgive me readers if off the bat I’m not in my most cheerful mood.  I woke up in a state of anger and frustration.  The reason for me writing about it is because when you are positive people think you don’t ever have bad days.  That’s not true.  I do, you do, we all do.

So as I came into work today with red all in my eyes, I felt guilty.  Today is Good Friday and today should be a day where I’m thinking of all the things that Jesus has done today.  That in itself should make me humble and grateful.  Can I be honest for a second?  I’m grateful I really am but I’m so mad at the world right now I can’t stand my own skin.  So as they say its not about the anger its about what you plan to do with it.  I want things to change I have to be the change I want to see right? Right. So today I decided to be vulnerable.  Today is really hard for me.  I deal with anxiety as if that isn’t enough, personally I’m working on some things as well.

Have you ever seen your progress but it not be enough?  That’s sort of my dilemma.  I’m not happy with just merely existing.  I can work schedules for my family like no one’s business, bake, cook, and make sure everyone around me has what they need and today I choose to focus on my insides.  Deal with my heart issues.  Give them to God as I know He is the one that can make them better as long as I do my work to get there. I’m not suggesting that by writing this I’m going to be in a jolly mood because reality would tell me differently.  What I do know is slowly I will get there.

If you too woke up feeling the weight of your hurt and pain or the weight of your own thoughts, take some time to acknowledge it today.  I know we should be somber and think on Jesus and we will but we have to be able to lay our hearts down on the table and be transparent.  Do we think He doesn’t know our issues?  Does He not hear?  That’s the reason for day.  He took all of what I feel today, all of the wrongs I would ever commit and said I have another plan.  He knew that we on our own wasn’t enough and today He is reminding us that He is enough.  I am enough because of it and that alone will change how I interact with others.  Today you are enough!