Sunday Message: Living your Best Life

I’ve been waiting to right this one for quite some time! The phrase is everywhere. To be honest it’s a good thing to live your best life! Who wants to live the opposite?! However beyond quotes and knowing your angles on Instagram if you’re gonna live it then do the work that it requires.

Living your best life is best when you start from the inside out. It requires you to leave a few negative folks behind, own your stuff, and be authentic to you. Sound easy but not exactly?! You will find resistance along the way. This is when it’s easier to fake it than to really live in authentic truth! The second you go to live your best life it may cause a ripple effect with those around you! Be prepared!

More than Instagram Angles

Who doesn’t love a good picture on social media?! I know I do and you do too! However don’t forget that every picture has a story. I sometimes go back to my pics and think back on what was really going on?! Was I just really good?! What happened before and after the pic! For instance here’s a pic from my solo trip:

I looked great, felt great and had a good amount of adult drinks. I was in my zone and it was an amazing time. What wasn’t shown was that there was so much work going on. I was in the midst of leaving my job and taking a leap of faith. I actually had secured the bag while there. However dancing between do I leave and start from scratch and how that would affect my family was on my mind. I’m happy to say that leap was super scary and it paid off! However fear and letting go was on the other side of living my best life. Being used to certain behaviors and being completely unsure of myself was on one side and complete freedom, better pay and a better opportunity was on the other side. I could have stayed and made a few waves at my past job but when you don’t move and sometimes take initial fear you could hinder your own blessing. Scared I still leaped! Shout out to those who know that where I am now is a complete reflection of grace! It is not of anything of myself!

What does living my best life do for you as a person?!

It makes you grateful! Plain and simple! You know how many times a door shut. How many times you were alone?! How many times you had to shut down the naysayer in your own head but you still had to push?! It makes you stronger as you get to the next fight! It gives you a confidence to gas yourself!! It reminds you that you can do anything! It doesn’t erase the pain but it almost suggests that the pain was worth it! So it’s okay to acknowledge it!

Fear sometimes drops off

As I kept going on even in fear it eventually dropped off. I never get to a point in my life as if things are just so Gucci. Nope! I walk-in humbleness. I walk like I know where I am going even when it feels like I’m working with a broken GPS! Fear has many of time walked with me until it fell off like a child learning to ride with no brakes! During many moments of my life it’s been like that! However my biggest motivator is myself and next is the little folks that call me mom! I let them know when I make a mistake I use it when I parent. When they can’t get along I openly let them know of the same moments I’ve had. I also want them to know they can keep going!

So while you say you want to live your best life be prepared for the work that comes along with it. Accept your flaws but don’t simply just say this is me oh well, take what is said and done to you and make the necessary changes! This requires a gut punch here and there! I used to say oh well to what folks said but everyone ain’t telling the same lie! Own it and change it! Also stop living your life with the brakes! The more I get out, the more I attack the list of wants without excuses the more doors open! Step through them!! It’s okay to be okay and enjoy this life! You don’t have to be downtrodden all the time. Life will give enough of those moments so that you don’t have to create them! Learn to enjoy moments. Smile a little! Enjoy a treat and have a little balance! Get out and explore! Live your best life!

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The Complainer

Let me just say and acknowledge that I used to be the one that got on everyone’s nerves with complaining.  I mean as much as I blamed everyone else for the inability to deal with it, the truth of the matter I was the Debbie Downer that no one wanted to be around.  I used to sit around and say well if “they” can’t deal with me that’s on them, this is who I am.  Sound familiar?  You can’t blame folks for no longer wanting to be in your space when your space is dampened by negative vibes and foolery. It’s like hey, you don’t ever have a good day? What does it take for you to smile? Is your life hanging in the balance, no?  Are you ever going to be okay? I can only imagine the things my own husband thought even if he never said it. I get it when I hear others do it because I hear my old responses.

So fast forward to these last few years, I have one, gut bunched myself.  I checked me.  My mom always taught me everyone ain’t telling the same lie.  They may variations but when you hear the same exact thing, there’s truth in that story.  So instead of dragging those around me with misery I checked myself and quick. I one went to counseling to deal with those underlying issues we think is dormant until they aren’t.  Secondly I looked at life from a different perspective.  There are a thousand and one things that can go wrong in your life, but my responses was the only thing that mattered.  So the blame game stopped. I took stock even in the worst of an argument, I took stock.  What did I do?  How could I change me instead of having a laundry list of the things the other person could have done?  For the record this is years of change, not last week.

I got happy or should I say I found real joy in life.  How can I be the best mother and wife if I am consistently draining those in my own home first?  A good gut check will align you in the way you should go.  So now it’s humbling and annoying at the same time when I hear people complain.  I get real quiet and begin to make space.  I can’t entertain those negative people.  In the last few months I have had one friend that I have hung around that has even challenged my interactions with friends.  I can’t do the friends that have a negative response to the most mundane thing.  For instance I sent a friend a card, they were like why did you send it to me.  I had already made it personal with lovely encouraging words, etc but instead of just reading it, they got it, didn’t open it and was like why this and why that.  I immediately took a mental note.  Listen, my friend I’ll call her K has shown me that friendships should be light.  You should be able to send messages back and forth and enjoy the company.  You should be generally happy instead of the “I wonder what issue this person will bring,” type of relationship.

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So I want to first thank my husband who brought up my negative talk to me.  Our mates know us.  When your mate says your annoying, a complainer, a nagger, you can be mad all you want the truth is in the message, learn to receive it.  I took the message and instead of getting mad, and complained some more I got it together.  There is more laughter in our home than disagreements.  Even disagreements don’t last that long. Trust me even I am have taken notice to it.  Also there is a lightness that makes things flow better even in the most difficult situations we have faced.  People think that trouble doesn’t come to us but that’s the furthest from the truth, we are just handling it better. Secondly I want to think K who has been so refreshing and not just K but a lot of my friends I wasn’t able to receive real love back and forth the way I needed to because of my own hindrances.  I feel like my relationships have gotten better for those who are on the same wave length and the others need work.  Some of that work may be from me and some from the other side as well.  We shall see.

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The time you spend complaining and living in a complaining state takes too much time off of your life.  I think to be honest is where I started doing the daily days that I post on my personal Facebook page.  There is something to be grateful for, something to celebrate, something to be better for.  Learn to tap into that.  I now have to be sure my kids don’t take on any of negative behaviors. I make sure to call it out and show them rather than tell them what gratefulness looks like.  I think our home has been in a better place.  As a wife and mom it’s up to me to set a tone as a covering over negativity in it. I hope that my own blunders will help a person to be the best version of themselves.  I know that negativity is a learned behavior and you are ultimately responsible for what comes out of your mouth.  People do NOT want to be in your presence when you are a cess pool of complaining.  Life and death are in the tongue and even the death of the closeness a relationship can be is in your tongue.  FYI just because someone has been around you for so long, is not a good enough reason to continue in your ways.

Let me leave you with 5 examples and if you meet these 5; do some inside work:

Example #1:

You get a text, do you just go with the flow or question why a message was sent without checking the message first? (reading is fundamental, question what needs questioned but you don’t have to question the sender on every thing it could be just informational)

Example #2:

You get invited to a dinner, instead of going with the flow you make comments on restaurant selection, talk about yourself the whole time, etc (PS you could have stayed home and not come)

Example #3

You are in a group text, you make the church announcement that you don’t do group text and that you are tired of being in them but you get mad when you are no longer invited to the next group text or no longer privy to the information in it (you could have muted the conversation to check back later)

Example 4

You get a gift with no card, your first response is “no card” instead of saying thank you and then the next response is “why would you come with no card” (the card could have gotten lost in transit, or the gift may have not needed one)

Example 5

You are getting a group gift and instead of stating how much you wanted from others, you offer to them for them to give what they can.  Your friend gives 10 your response is “I seen how you been spending lately, this is all you have? (you can’t clock other folks money and what they should or shouldn’t be doing with it)

 

These types of responses over time will not get you invited to the next function.  You can’t get mad when you are constantly left out after the continual rude, insensitive, negative vibes are being given.  FYI outside of the gift one I have used these responses in the past in one shape or form.  This way no one will get in their feelings of you used what I did or said.  However if the shoe fits, please wear them and adjust.  No one and I repeat NO ONE has time for any of the above mess.  No one wants to be drained of negative space when around you.

Be better not to save a relationship but because deep down even you get sick of you.   Continue reading The Complainer

Monday Motivation

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I had a good weekend if you haven’t read up on my run, you should. But today I rode the train thinking of what I wanted to accomplish this week.  Some general themes of self-care came up as well as making work deadlines, but then I thought about ways I could be specific and get my intentions across.  I broke out my journal and began to write my goals down. I wanted to be clear as I started this Monday of my intentions.  So I encourage you to do the same.  Be clear on what you want to get accomplished this week.  Also write down how you plan to get done what you need to get done this week. Don’t just let the week happen.  Don’t let Monday come and you simply exist.  Be apart of your own story and stop allowing things to happen to you.  Yes, life is hard and comes with unexpected issues we can’t avoid, but there are a lot of things we can control and sometimes we just simply look at things as they hit. Be active in your goals, your life, and the lives of those around you.  Have a good week and a good day on purpose by starting your days with purpose.

Recovery Day

Things have been going well. I am not complaining at all. But today, was a day! Usually I feel I am good at dealing but today tested that theory.  As much as I talk about the good days, I’ve also said that I would highlight the bad ones.

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It wasn’t one thing that made my day bad it was a combination.  Without getting too deep into it and boring you out of your mind, let me just say that I had to think quick on my feet on how to attack each issue and today was the day I allowed every negative thought, self-doubt, etc attack. Shout out on being able to call my husband on days like today where I felt I needed support.  I could have easily reached out to friends but I just didn’t have the energy to do so.  My husband was there to listen to each thing, and offer many suggestions that he knew I wouldn’t take initially.  You sir are the MVP.

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Walk it Out

I finally got some mental relief by taking a walk in the sun.  Something about being outside even for a few minutes that boosts the spirits.  I took a drink of water with me, made to apply some sunscreen and sat in the sun with my music on and looked around. I didn’t go on my social media to look at what others was doing, simply minded my own business and enjoyed a few minutes of sun and reflected on the pep talk my husband and I had.  Soon as I came back, things lined right back in place.  I realized that at this new job I have been running non stop for days and I haven’t had a break.  I will incorporate a break daily going forward.  This job is super demanding but I will do some work self-care to get me through.  I also noticed that break helped me work on my personal goals that I needed to attack and line up for the weekend.  Trying to manage time and get everything in with a full household full of folks that all have to be places is not always as easy I make it look and that’s with my husband’s hands on help.

So today, take a break! Simply get some air.  Clear your mind and do take a social media break even if it’s for a few moments. Do not let anything rob you of peace of mind and definitely don’t be the one who gets on your own last nerves.  You got this!

Monday Inspiration: The Protection of No

Happy Monday to you.  Today I want to talk about the pain that comes along with NO.  Like children when we hear no we may experience a plethora of feelings.  From being disappointed, to hurt, to anger.  What you wanted and where you are in that journey makes your NO levels different.

If you were in what you thought was a loving relationship and you felt the next step was marriage only to find out that the person you held so dear to you is a fake, that NO that he failed you and the pain of starting all over again can be devastating. What about the pain in the NO when you are job searching?  Job searching is a numbers game at times.  You may hear several NOs in your lifetime where that is concerned.  Trust me.  When I got laid off of my job in 2010 right after having my premature daughter I was devastated.  I was thinking what in the world am I going to do?  I moved to Philadelphia and found out I was pregnant again.  Out of my element and new to a city I decided to take some time off and do the stay at home mom thing.  It was harder than I anticipated.  The time I decided to go back to work, I heard so many NOs my heart actually hurt.  I felt like I would be at home forever.  No after NO after NO began to chip at my spirit.  I am human I thought I have a college degree and experience why is this happening.  But it did.

During those difficult times of hearing NO and the mix emotions I felt, I got stronger.  I felt like I was taken a thousand steps back but I got stronger. I got a job and then began to progress to where I am now but the story wasn’t an easy one.  I have had moments where I second guessed myself. I cried.  I cursed from being so angry. I was miserable. I had to get it together.  So if you woke up and all you can do is hold onto the pain of NO, I get that.  Hear me clearly, when you let it go and walk with the sting of the pain and move forward you may not get that YES the same day, but you will if you don’t quit. At the very moment of quitting you will get a YES.  Put the work in.  Take moments along the journey of NO to renew your mind.  You may have to do this daily.  Whatever it takes, don’t faint and don’t quit.  There is protection in NO.  NO means something else is out there for you.  No means that the journey you paved for yourself wasn’t the journey YOU needed to be your best self.  Shocking how we think we know everything we need until life throws something our way to prove that we don’t.  Strive for excellence.  You can walk through the pain without the pain knocking your will to live out of you.  The protection is making sure you don’t walk further in pain.  There are people in places God never intended because instead of listening to the NO and letting it protect them, they let their personal desires walk them willingly into some mess and now they are miserable.  They shouldn’t be in that place and they know it.  Sometimes that stubborn will have you walking in circles.  When things don’t work out there is a reason.  If you are running late to a place, there is reason.  It’s protection.  Yes its frustrating but you don’t know what you are about to walk in.  Trust the process.  Have faith and walk in the sting of the pain don’t let the pain of NO overtake you.

Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Stephanie S!

Thank you to the wonderful women who answered the call to be interviewed. It takes a lot to open up about who you are.  You are who you are and this process can be a little intimidating.  Thank you to all of my volunteers.  As women we all have unique situations that vary but collectively we go through much of the same things.  Not just for this month or for the #METOO movement, let’s all bond as one.

Stephanie S., is a mother to two beautiful girls.  Her oldest is actually her niece that she has raised since she was 13 until the age of 18 and her youngest is her biological daughter, she’s 4-years-old.  She’s been with her husband for 16 years and they will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary on May 9th.  She’s one of a few in her family to graduate high school and college and have gone onto graduate school.  She still has 3 more classes to go before she graduates. She was laid off in 2015 and found two jobs the following year in 2016, but she’s only working at one of those jobs and couldn’t be more happier.  She is finally in a place that she enjoys where she is currently.
What she would tell her younger self:
The life ahead of you will not be easy, but keep faith in God and trust that He will not give you more than you can handle.  Also, you need to relax more, things will work themselves out in the end. 
Lessons for her daughters:
Nothing in life is truly free.  Be honest, be kind, and the world will be yours. 
Love: Don’t rush into it.  If you truly want to know if your partner is right for you, please don’t be afraid to bring them to meet your father or me. 
Career: don’t settle for comfort.  Find a career that you’re truly passionate about and makes you happy to go to everyday.  In the end, if there’s anything in all three that you feel uncomfortable with, let someone know.  Don’t be afraid to tell anyone.
Our future and where we want to be should be something that we attempt to work at all the time. Nothing is simply going to be handed to us.  I asked where Stephanie sees herself in 5 years:
In a better position at my job.  I love my place of employment, but would like to advance to higher position.
What are the things you have accomplished:
Well, when it comes to personal accomplishments, I’d say, participating in art shows.  I love art and to be able to participate in art shows has been such an honor and a joy to share my own work with others who love art just as much as I do. 
Another personal accomplishment is that I decided to go to grad school to get my Master’s degree.  I haven’t finished my grad schooling yet, but I will soon or at least hope to. 
Career accomplishments, I would say is jumping into a position that no one else wanted and ended up being the best person they had done the job.
I think we tend to hold certain people in high regards.  This #METOO movement has allowed some of the ones we hold high to be seen differently.  No matter who it is, if you have sexually assaulted, harassed or abused another woman regardless of which roles you may have played, how much money you have, even if you are someone’s boss, it’s not okay.
What are your thoughts on the #METOO movement:
To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that some of the things being said about celebrities like Bill Cosby were true, but when you have so many women coming forward, then there must be some truth to the allegations.  It’s great that more women are coming forward and ousting their tormentors/abusers.  Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.  Value your self-worth before you value where your career can take you.  I feel my youngest is too young to truly understand what the movement means so I’m unsure of how I plan on using the movement.  The closest thing I can think of to tell my daughter would be, “If you don’t like someone touching you or you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to tell anyone.”
What are the things that Stephanie is looking to accomplish or crush:
The major thing on my heart that I hope to crush is completing my graduate degree.  When I do go back to complete it, I will have to pay for my three classes and I just can’t afford to pay for them right now.  So as soon as I can afford it, then I will complete my degree. 
Lastly what does self-love look like to you:
Accepting myself for who I am.  I am a person who is shy, but is trying to be more vocal when I need to be.  When having a rough day, listening to music every chance I get.  When I’m home, I wait until my daughter is in to bed to sit at my desk and write in my bullet journal or plan things out in my other planners.  And as silly as it sounds, I like to straighten my hair sometimes because it makes me feel good about my looks.  I chose to give up drinking sodas in order to care about my health.  I was drinking sodas to keep my energy levels up especially when I was at work, but I realized that as long as I’m laughing and staying productive at work, my energy is generally high or at a normal level.  Plus, I don’t get headaches anymore.  In place of sodas, I’ve been drinking more water.  Still working on getting to bed at a normal hour, but I will get there in time. 
Stephanie thank you again for participating.  I am sending positive vibes that you will get the funding you need to complete your master’s degree.  Do NOT stop just because you have this hiccup in the road. I hope your daughters know just how smart, how beautiful, how strong you really are.  I hope through your example that others around you will know continue to have purpose and move towards that purpose daily.
Another note if you’re looking for a photographer in central Pennsylvania, take a look at her information:

A Sister Roundup-Don’t Fall Off

Good morning all!

We should at this point have gotten our Valentine’s Day our of our systems and continue on showing love to the ones in our lives daily.  If you didn’t have the Valentine’s Day you wanted I get it, at this point, refocus from this one day and find ways to use self-care to get through.  You still have other days ahead that are going to need your attention.and dwelling on that one day past the 24 hours that followed means that you are allowing this to overtake you.

I wanted to do something different today to have a check in of sorts but instead of highlighting my highs and lows, let’s just talk about various aspects of our mental health.  One this has NOTHING to do with the allegations of mental abuse with the recent school shooting.  As much as I know mental disease played a part in it, I am one for calling a spade a spade and say that premeditated homicide is a different type of beast.  That is a blog for a different day.  However I send prayer and love to the community of Parkland and pray that with prayers, we have an action plan in place and sooner than later.  I am one for prayer but faith without works is dead, we need action.

Love Life

All of us regardless of where we are need to heal and have some closures in a few places.  Let me be clear that this has NOTHING to do with your tax status. A hurting heart will not heal from a wedding ring.  I know we have been conditioned to believe that marriage is the answer to love woes but it’s actually not. Marriage is like having a constant mirror walking around.  A lot of wounds that you haven’t dealt with will come up during marriage.  So if you are looking for marriage to complete you, this is misguided thinking.   It will not.  It will make you face yourself.  The issue with having someone to face yourself is that not all marriages are strong enough for the depth of junk that people bring into them. So I would suggest that you work on the things that you need before.

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Also there are some folks that would rather be single.  There is nothing wrong with that.  That’s not different then the folks that don’t want to be parents.  Your life, your choice.  Just be sure that wherever you want love not to go down the wrong path.  If you constantly see a pattern in whom you are choosing, don’t blame the people you dated, take accountability.  Remember self-care and self-love go hand in hand in your love journey it’s not something to attempt to do after you have entangled someone with you.  Also have a plan or list that you have in the back of your mind but make the non negotiable things that deal with character above physical in your mind especially if you are dating and looking.  I know women who have these laundry lists of their wants and needs and they are superficial to say the least.  Often times they don’t take character into play.  If you have a good-looking liar, you aren’t winning.  However you should be attracted to the person you are with.  So balance it!

Friendships/Sister Friends

I am in the process of weeding out a few bad apples. I find myself doing this often.  As I take accountability for my own actions one of the actions is my actions for friendships. It doesn’t matter how long I have been friends with them either.  Zero passes need to be given.  Since I have gotten older, my desires have changed.  With that some friendships were great for the phase of life I WAS in but not for where I am now nor for where I am headed.  With that in mind let’s cut away the leech friends.  The ones who have zero problems taking but do not ever give.  It’s not cool and as everyone is working on themselves the excuses has to stop.  You can have a million and one excuses but if you are out here being a bad friend, own it  and decide do you really want to change?  If yes then do so if not then be honest and let the friendship fizzle out.  Also friends shouldn’t get so comfortable that you take friendship for granted.  This means thank you, and please go a long way.  I think above all we have to remember that when we deal with others in general.  You’re not so much of my sis that you can forget that.

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We want to be connected but having bad connections is bad for your life in general.  Oh and be extremely leery of these friendship circles.  I was invited to one that I accepted because I know they are about building up.  But I declined one because it was really about selling stuff.  Listen, sis I love to shop but I am also on team savings too.  I want to help you build your brand but you can’t fill my inbox with let’s make money quick schemes and have me stay.  Not one time was it about praying, lifting another one up, or even about making sure everyone felt loved and secure.  I pass on these types all the time. This was one of the major pushes for cleaning up my social media.  I had way too many groups talking about helping that turned into everyone thinking they knew everything, let’s talk crap about another sister, or finding out the tea in someone’s life.  I got a healthy life, so I don’t have much time for the foolishness. I spend more time with solid relationships, my family, going to church, self-care and the gym that’s plenty for me.

Self-Care

What have you done this week for you?  Literally I found that I was super agitated more this week wondering if and why someone else hadn’t poured into me.  Totally selfish of me but it happened. One thing to note is never do anything for anyone and look for something in return.  The second thing that it showed me is that I lacked something that is within myself and I sought after that instead of wasting time being upset at someone else.  I have what I need inside of me. Do not tax others to do for you what you wont do for you.  It’s that simple.  Self care comes from various sources from free to lavish. You find where you can and what you can and you do it.  You really should be finding something you can do for you daily not just weekly.  If you have gotten to this Friday and can’t name one thing you did for yourself that made you better, than you have some catching up to do.  Ladies and gentlemen, self-care is not an option its a must.

Health

I can not stress enough getting ALL of your tests done.  Have you made an eye appt?  What about a gynecological exam?  No physical?  No follow-ups done either?  What in the real world are you waiting for?  You do realize that putting it off will not make anything go away?  Be vigilant about your health and what you want.  Be vigilant in making sure that you will be here in the future.  Go and be seen.  There is no reason to have something sneak up on you when we have the technology to do something about it.We need to make sure that our health is fully taken care of. How active are you?  How many hours a week are you putting into an active lifestyle?  Have you substituted the stairs for the elevators, maybe do a work out tape or a free YouTube exercise instead of constantly sitting in front of the television?  Maybe substituted a bad snack for a better healthier option?  Whatever you are not doing, let’s change that.  Let’s get up and move a bit.  Sitting is the new smoking so let’s end these bad habits and do it now.

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This has been an interesting week to say the least and remember it’s February so all the hoopla from the New Year’s wears off this month.  Don’t let the momentum stop you.  Renew your mindset and refocus on your goals.  Don’t let this super short month get you.  I know even with the flu it was hard to recommit but I did it and so can you.  Bad habits only last as long as you want them.  Good habits can do the same.  Make yourself a priority.

So I am hoping that with everything that is going on personally and professionally that you find a way to recommit to having the best life you can. No things aren’t perfect but you can have a better life if you make the right choices.  Sometimes those choices mean that you may need to say no, turn a few things off, say no to a few invitations and maybe even cut off a few along the way, but whatever it is that you need to do, do it and do it well!