Self Love

Self love will look different, sound different, taste different, etc to different people. Self love means by the very definition is about loving yourself.  The broadest definition of self-love is learning how to care for you, what you need, how much you need, and being okay to not limit how often you love on yourself. How you achieve the goal will be the unique marker for each individual person.

If you are in a relationship and you are finding that the person that YOU selected isn’t loving on you the way that you want, do some things about it.  For instance, if self-love looks like you taking some me time, that’s what you need to do. In relationships we all need our own time but when you don’t have enough self love and aren’t being active in your self love, the second your mate isn’t doing what he or she needs you get upset.  What you haven’t recognized is that you may not have loved on yourself and therefore what you lack isn’t love from an outside source but from yourself.  Your personal love cup is empty.

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This is a new journey that I am taking.  When you start to love yourself even the mundane everyday interactions that you tolerated before will cause your eyes to open.  You start setting limits on how much time you are in one place because you see that the person or location no longer serves you.  This is the by-product of loving you.  Our society always seems to put more on an emphasis on what others do, how they do, and when but not enough on what you require, how often, and when.  Change the way you look at yourself.

When you self-love you can see your flaws, work towards making them better, but still embrace them. Self love isn’t always a come to Jesus moment either.  Self love also involves making some drastic changes and changes that sting and hurt in the beginning. For instance, how can you love on you but don’t care what you consume?  These type of bad habits have to stop when you love on you more. Tap into what YOU need and not what people have set limitations for what THEY think you need.  If a part of you needs to finish school so that can be a goal that you cross off for you, than do that.

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I was walking in the store this morning.  I heard a woman tell the cashier how her husband doesn’t like it when she reads.  First thing that came to mind was what in the unholy hell is that?  How can a man tell his wife that he doesn’t like her reading. Then I stopped because I have no idea what is going on in their home, if it’s a cultural thing, or if she really is in an unsafe environment.  What I did hear is that she said that what he wanted didn’t stop her. She gets up early almost an hour before he does and reads anyway in another room.  She takes books to her job and uses her lunch time.  She uses her E-reader to read and he thinks she is web surfing.  I could go in on her oppressed like home, but she did something about it that made her happy in spite of the environment she was in. What about you who aren’t living in an oppressed environment.  Are you willing to get up early, stay up late, change your schedule, make yourself temporarily uncomfortable to give YOU what you need?  I mean apart of the process of self-love is learning how to tune out the negative thoughts that come from you and those who you seem to want approval from.

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Self love should be the first love you master and re-master over and over again.  This will take loveless relationships and end them fast.  You can’t dip yourself in love and allow someone to give you less than what you give yourself.  Maybe you need to re-check your self-love meter.  If you compromise on you than don’t go off on someone else who does what you allow them and you to do to yourself.  Have you ever been asked what makes you happy but don’t have an answer to give?  I am not talking about winning the lottery.  I am talking about the type of things that make you happy that money can’t buy yet when asked you go blank.  Your self love bank is empty and you need a refill.  What makes you happy? What are your passions?  What makes you at peace when the world is going to hell in a handbag?  I am going to clue you in even as a wife and mom although I love my titles, it’s going to have to be more than changing some diapers and loving on my husband to make me happy.  Relationships change and kids grow.  Simply and only being caught up in either title will leave my self love meter empty.  Why do you think the divorce rate is high when couples get into the empty nest phase.  One they may have not put in enough energy in their relationships or themselves.  However it rolls out to be, self love is the MOST important love you will ever encounter.

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Action Do Something

So let me just say that I have about had all I can take but I know that is not true because as time goes especially in the next day or so the complaints are going to take off.  I am referring to the swearing-in of Donald Trump, which artists or celebrities will be in attendance and even those who aren’t.  This is about the family and friends that are about to go into social media war…. Do Something!

Yes I said it.  There.  There will be countless of those who will have just about every complaint in the world but that will be where it stops.  You don’t like one of your celebrities or artist who is performing or going, than have an action plan.  One of the best ways is to stop following them on social media.  It’s like the Kardashian affect, people say they hate them but they have over 1 million followers a piece.  Yes some folks just follow to get the tea to someone’s life but you aren’t getting how that makes you the person look. You are literally watching a person you wouldn’t even otherwise care for and you aren’t even benefitting from it.  That is a sad part of life.  We ALL have better things to do than to allow the cycle to continue.  Although the media sometimes controls the images that are out, you personally can control what you take in.  I followed Chrisette Michelle an artist that has agreed to attend and sing at Donald Trump inauguration celebration.  Now whether or not I agree with her reasons or not, I sat and watched all the comments made and thought to myself, we have the power to evoke change.  The best way is in the pockets of any artist, socialite, etc.  They thrive on media interaction, and financial backings of their product.  It doesn’t just apply to this now political storm that has been brewing for quite some time now either.  This is a principle.

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If you have people in your own personal life that you don’t deal with don’t just block them on social media but block their access to your spirit and life.  I have done this and trust me the peace to just live and not worry about the foolishness is priceless. So before you go gangster social media arguing, just end it and cut you out of it.  I had a disagreement with a family member.  I found myself getting all upset and going back and forth via social media than I thought, what is the point?   Just stop it now and deal with them on a personal level if you need to and move on.  Or not and just keep on pushing.  We give our energy to do many things and wonder why we are zapped out.  Even in your emails, you can unsubscribe correct?  Unsubscribe in real life.  There is no need to have things and people pulling on you to the point where you are up in arms.  Will Donald Trump being in office cause issues even for those who supported him?  I am sure it will. Learn to deal with what is for you and leave the rest.  If you are going to make a stand I say go for it but do it with more leg work and action and a lot less mouth.  We need a world of doers and not just good ideas alone. Protect your spirit and especially if you are a parent or help in the parenting of your children.

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My thoughts on MLK Day?

As we have taken part in another MLK day, I have so many mixed emotions.  I have done my duty as a parent to instill in my kids the importance that they need to be accepting of others even though based on their own skin color they may not get that in return.  I have since my kids are under 8, shield them from a larger scale of the recent events but finding my own voice to still give them the messages that they will no doubt face.  That in itself has been hard.  I am very concerned in the balance of restricting imagery but not take away from the message.  So I spent more of my time researching the facts.  I have also attempted to keep it real but not tamper with my kids spirit.  They have to live in this world and know they can go through the fire but not get burned.  I could paint an ugly world.  I see that everyday.  I see adults do some damaging things to kids. I see race riots.  I see violence within communities and to communities.  I have had to take social media and blogging breaks more in 2016 than when I started 2 years ago.  Life can be confusing, complicated, and difficult.

I reflect on how even in elementary school I had to take a few fights for being called a Nigger.  I had teachers change my grades because I wasn’t seen as valuable.  So I will never let my kids think we live in a cookie cutter world.  As I rewatched the I have a dream speech today the very things that Dr. King spoke gotten better and other things seem as we have all dipped back in the 60’s.  So when all the service projects have ended, will we be a nation that can stand arm in arm with others who look differently and drop the hate?  Will my kids have to worry about being called a Nigger?  Will they be arrested for no reason, beat or even God forbid killed for no reason? My mother answer says no not mine.  My reality answer is Lord help us all.  The fact that just because these are issues that touch predominately brown people, people with disabilities, gay or lesbian, etc., the reality is that these issues touches us all.

In a few days we will have a new president.  Everything that we know will change.  That is fact.  The way that president-elect Trump to basically bring in his own team, fired many that have more political tenure then he, further let’s me know that.  It doesn’t matter if I like or agree with his political appetite or not.  Honestly I haven’t given too much thought on what type of president he will be.  What I am seeing now has been all over the place as well as a general inability to understand the policy that Trump brings.  What I will do is stay vigilant in keeping my home a safe haven.  A place where my family can come and have peace from the world.  A place where we can do what we need to do behind the scenes so we can take that same message of love outside of the home.

I will however have a voice.  I will use that voice in the coming weeks, months and years to come up with solutions.  I will find a way to let Dr. King’s words live in me.  It is more critical now to implement what he preached and make our kids see the same.  I pray that today was more than the once a year help others day.  What are you doing all year-long?  Do you take medication to the elderly? Do you know of a family who needs support?  Do you give a single mom or dad some assistance even if it’s just a home cooked meal?  We have to do more across the board than just giving this one day.  What reflection have you given to Dr. King’s legacy other than posting a meme?  It is time to apply Dr. King’s message to our everyday lives.

How to Have the Best New Year’s Eve…

First of all this is one busy night.  There are a lot of preparations to make it perfect, but let’s keep it real there’s no such thing as perfect.  You have to set aside what goals are most important to you.  They say how you bring in the New Year is super important and it is.

Here are some of the ways you can bring in the New Year:

For Couples:

It’s important to attempt to spend it together.  Yes some people have to work and that is totally understandable.  However if you are a couple there are a million ways to spend it. You can go to a hot party and get all dolled up.  This would require that you and your partner book ahead of time.  Going out on New Years means having a party plan.  Will you use a taxi, Uber, Lyft?  What are the prices?  Everything is super expensive on that night. Do you even want to go out and deal with other party goers?  Decide early because after Christmas if most clubs and establishments haven’t already posted prices they definitely will.  Remember anything where you can pre-pay ahead of time is better.  At the door the price will usually go up from $20 to 100 per person.  Ouch.  So plan ahead.

If you and your boo do NOT want to go out, opt hosting a party get together.  You can do this by having other couples come and share in the purchase of food and drinks.  This will cut cost down dramatically.  You can have a great night in.  You can do things like play games, watch movies, whatever you want to do.  It’s all your choice.  This is a great option for a laid back night with others.

If you say Toi, I really just want a quiet evening, than do that.  I know couples who dress up and cook a meal together.  This can turn into something if you want it to trust me. Nothing is sexier than your partner in the kitchen.  Make a meal that you both can try that you wouldn’t have normally tried before.  This way its something out of the ordinary than your normal pasta dish at home watching tv.  You can do a vision board together as a couple as well as an individual.  You can play games and make it fun.  Spice it up.  You can just spend some quality time with the one you love as you bring in another year.

For Singles:

You can do the same thing as above as far as going out but make it a great group effort. You aren’t the only single one in the whole world no matter how much your mind tells you. Get together and reconnect with friends that you may not have been able to catch up with during Christmas.  This is a great time to travel.  Some of my friends are out of the state so if I was single you could travel to their state or pick a new destination altogether. The same rules apply, have fun and be safe.  If you want you can have the ultimate girls night.  There are a million and one ways to have a group of women come together and have a great time. You can pick a theme.  It doesn’t have to be just the New Year.  You can have a makeover night.  Everyone brings make up, wear cute pajamas, etc. The sky is the limit. Be open-minded.

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Travel

Like I said I remember hitting Miami up one year.  I had the BEST time with my girlfriends. We went to a great club that had open bar for a price and food.  We danced so much I can’t tell you how bad my feet hurt.  However when I look back at the pictures I smile.  We really had a great time and even walked a little on the beach.   You’re single not dead.  Enjoy life. There is so much to experience that is beyond your backyard.  Now that I am married a few of my single friends have even gone out of the country.  Imagine that.  If you have a passport, isn’t it time for some new stamps?

For Parents:

My husband and I have been parents for 7 years and the ONLY time we have had a night out for New Years has been this past year.  We ended up going to Chickie and Pete’s.  We had no immediate plans.  We made none.  We decided to just get dressed up and head out. As we went to a few places, we noticed how super crowded and how limited space was open to be out.  So I did what any woman would do, I goggled.  I found that Chickie and Pete’s had a special for a flat rate you could eat and drink top shelf liquor all night. I said let’s give it a try.  Let me tell you, it was worth every penny.  Not only was the crowd hype, there was dancing, our own table, and did I mention all you can eat and drink on food we knew would be good?  Yes we had hit the jackpot.  It’s hard to get a sitter and last year we lucked up.  So what do you do when you have no sitter and you have little people?  You make your own party. I have always done a party at home.  I had adult drinks and kiddie mock drinks, New Year’s gear, and we had a full party.  Dancing, music, the countdown all of that. Guess what it was low-key, loads of fun, and I didn’t stress bed time either.  I let them stay up until they fell out.  It was a great time.  Oh and my kids can hang.  They loved every bit of it.

Another option for parents is to invite other parents that are in the same boat.  You can have a kid and parent party.  This is a good idea for parents who want to interact with others but can’t find a sitter.  Everyone can come together and split food and drinks. Everyone can have a great time in a safe location.  Parents can interact with other adults and the kids can get some time out as well.  Trust me the ride home will be quiet, your little ones will be knocked out no matter how late or early you go out.  Also during the day on New Years places like aquariums etc will have specials for the little people and a special count down too. This way if you are venturing out you can tire them out before you go and have some fun too.  Check prices and get tickets early as well.

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New Year’s night can be as much fun as you want it to be.  You have to be willing to step it up no matter what your status in life is.  Yes I didn’t mention church, but you didn’t think this fellow PK (preacher’s kid) would forget.  Yes watch tower or midnight services are fun too.  It does depend on where you go.  I am sorry church folks but you can make New Years fun.  Yes have a good message, preach, have choirs but have some fun too.  Nothing is worst is dragging your family out in the cold to church and having them wanting to gnaw their arms off because the service is no different from any other day.  It’s a fun night of celebration.  Just because you in the church you don’t have to cut the fun out. Incorporate something into the service. Have food.  Do something out of the box and bring folks into the church.

I do not have my plans set yet.  Whatever I do it will be fun.  Whether that’s out and about, a night at home, with friends I will have the same joy of beginning the New Year as I have always have even if I have to create it.  That should be a part of your new goals.  Creating happiness in your circle. Trust me the situations I was in I should have been sad but I turned them around and made the best of it and so can you.  Enjoy the New Year celebration as well as make your own mark going into 2017.

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Hurting the Babies

So with the holidays in full swing we need to have a discussion about mixing families. It’s no secret that people are master manipulators.  There is no fail proof way to determine if the new boo you have is the one that will honor you all of your days as well as do right by you and your children.  Even for those who aren’t married or have kids you really don’t know.  Love is about leaps.  However while you dip yourself into new love and mix families let’s talk about some of the drama with kids that we tend to forget.

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Growing up I was taught about being unequally yoked.  That had a lot to do with religion. However the principle is a good one to examine.  How do you link yourself up with a man or woman and don’t know their core values?  You aren’t going to agree on every little thing but let’s be  real, having kids or not is important.  How you will raise them is important.  I know of some men who marry women who have no intention of having children then bam they get side swiped and most end up leaving their wives for it.  The same holds true for men who make it appear they want to have a family but do things to ensure they can’t like get a vasectomy and never tell their mate. It’s a cruel and evil world out there.  Let’s organize how we need to protect ourselves and our children and future children from the foolishness.

Stop Marrying These Disagreeable Men and Women

How does it come off?  You have a man or woman who doesn’t like your family.  Then if something happens to you can you be sure that your child will have access to both sides of the family?  I know of evil families.  I really do.  However you deprive kids of having a relationship.  I am not going to act like there aren’t reasons to withhold kids from being around one side of the family over another.  There are.  But we as ADULTS have to be sure to separate our petty feelings over the kids.  My thing is at least try.  That’s key.  You should always be willing.  If after a sincere try to it doesn’t work then I can high-five a pull back. You knew from the time you were dating them and as time went on the person you were attempting or had attempted to yoke up with would not honor you or your kids by making things easy for your kids.  This isn’t just for folks with kids.  This is for the childless and wanting to be parents too.  Let me give you an example, my mother in law and I at one point of our relationship wasn’t on the up and up.  However whenever her and her son got into something or her and I did the same, I NEVER stopped the kids from being around her. That’s not my call.  It isn’t your call unless that parent will cause harm to the child. Then be around but don’t stop.  My mother in law isn’t here and although it was tough when we lived together I would have deprived my kids of their short relationship had I been in my bag all the time.  I am glad that my kids had the limited time that they had with her.

You know who you are married to or want to be with.  You know that they will not do right by you or your family. What is it about these disagreeable women and men that makes you throw caution to the wind and proceed.  Like most people will reveal a part of their hand if you are listening and really watching.  Instead we let sex, looks, stature determine more than it should.  Then we say I don’t know why this person is like that?  You knew it deep down.  I am not suggesting that all in-laws are evil, mine wasn’t either but what I am saying is stop bringing kids in the midst of your mess.  And you can say well I don’t have kids so I am good, you’re not.  You set the tone now for how you will do when you get kids. It’s true.  I was talking to a friend.  She made some ugly comments about her boyfriend’s kids and now they aren’t together.  She was devastated.  But I kept telling her you can’t say mean things about folks kids and think they will link themselves up to you.  If they were smart, they wouldn’t.  You have to be careful.  Sometimes the way you speak about your future especially where kids are concerned is important.  People don’t realize if you want to find out what someone is thinking just plain old listen.  People allow their heart issues to come out just from bringing up the same issues.

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Yes things happen that make disagreeable women and men come off as off but they are protecting themselves.  I know of a few but that is a small amount of folks.  Some people keep things going on.  Somebody has to be an adult.  Please stop allowing these issues to affect kids.  They do affect them no matter how much in your head you are telling yourself that it doesn’t.

Now unless you have made it clear that you don’t plan on taking kids around your mate’s family  and your mate is crystal clear than you are creating issues.  Why?  Children are a product of both sides.  To be honest.  You can keep kids from a side of a family and they will still exhibit some attributes of the other side.  You can’t keep kids away from folks just because you don’t want them to be like that side of the family.  If it’s in them you will be seeing parts of their unallowed family.  You haven’t solved anything.  Some family are toxic this is true.  However you have to teach kids how to be in the world and not take on everything about others.  I have friends who attend family functions with their kid to protect them from certain sides of families that may be toxic.  But guess what?  They tried. They didn’t just automatically cut off.  Being a parent means at times setting our issues aside for what’s best for the child.  Try with kids even if before things were bad.  Always be willing until people prove to you that you can no longer take your children around.  When kids grow up and you have tried, they will see things for themselves.  But can you say you tried when deep down you haven’t.  Kids will form resentment towards the parent that withheld them from their family when you don’t at least try.

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I think people hear what they want to.  There is no way my mate could tell me our kids are not allowed to have a relationship with my family without real warrant.  And I wouldn’t have yoked myself to someone who would be like that.  You better know that you know that the person you take vows is really on the same team.  Everybody hollering Team (insert last name) is really on the same team.  Some will be on the team as long as its beneficial.  That is why being who are gold diggers end up creating at times family households that causes more harm.  Yes I said gold diggers and let’s be clear gold diggers are both men and women. I don’t care what society says there are some greedy men who want what they want to.  You bring kids in the midst and treat kids like pawns.  Kids aren’t bargaining chips.  Please stop having kids just to shut your mate up.  Yes I said it. You didn’t want kids so I will have this one just so they can get off my back.  Many parents don’t even form bonds with these bargain kids because of it.  Kids need sound households not perfect ones.  Make sure the well-being of your kids is the vocal point.

How people treat your kids is key

If you are married to someone who allows there to be separate treatment of your non biological kids versus the biological kids that you share, they are not the man or woman for you period.  Now when you are dating you will have bumps in the road, but once you marry a person and you HAVEN’T worked all of the kinks out you are creating a disservice to yourself and your kids.  Do you know of the petty things adults do to kids? Like get biological kids gifts for the holidays  but not the non biological kids? Do you know some ugly petty adults will make comments in front of non biological kids that makes them feel unwelcome? Let’s keep this 100.  You should definitely not be on the Earth messing with kids.  I really do believe that.  Kids don’t have a choice when adults decide to link together.  If you or your family treat a certain set of kids differently, mean or etc. that is the worst thing you can do. Kids may not understand why but they turn into adults that never forget.

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I have been in situations where I remembered how some folks treated me as a child.  My step-dad never treated me like step anything. He raised me from a young child and I would go to toe over him. I only highlight step to illustrate for this blog.  However the same can’t be said for the rest of his family.  I am not suggesting that I was abused, nor overtly mistreated, but I remember comments made in my presence.  I remember my mother making sure that no one would overtly mistreat my twin and I different from my brother. We need parents to step it up in this category.  There are some adults that I still don’t vibe well with.  However as an adult now I make sure that no one does it to any of my children. I also don’t have to entertain the same adults now.  I remember getting into a conversation with my dad and he made it clear to me that I could just be an adult and withdraw.  He wasn’t encouraging me to disengage but he made it clear that instead of getting more and more upset, walk away.  It was the best idea.  I never wanted as an adult to put my dad in the middle of any issue with another adult at this point.  What is done is done.  But like the saying goes, you will never forget the way someone treats you.  Be careful of how you treat step kids.  You got grown adults walking around being hurt now over the way step families treat them. I did my job by going to counseling and anything else I needed to do to deal but most do not.  And it matters to a step child to get it right within themselves. If you are a step child (adult) still hurt over folks that will never admit, never apologize please get help.  I refuse to let people who don’t influence my life for the positive to have a hold over me.

To any of my family that I am sure is or will read this, I am not opening up anything so miss me with the texts or the phone calls.  These are my experiences and nothing is going to change that.  I don’t need a pow wow, move on like I did and do what you need to do like I did for me.  No family no matter how perfect we all want to look like will get it right.  

Kid will pick up on the wrong

Every kid no matter how nice and perfect their households were will pick up on the things that aren’t right.  I know for me things didn’t come up for me until I had my own kids. I can’t say my childhood was bad because it wasn’t.  However things that most kids didn’t have to deal with we did.  It made us strong.  My parents did the best they could and as far as I am concerned I came out of it with the will and tenacity to be a good adult.  I am not perfect by any means but watching my parents struggle definitely made me handle tough situations now. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon and it made me want to go that much harder in life to be great.  Kids pick up on the good and the bad no matter how you try to shield them.  You do your kids a disservice by not handling your issues.

The holidays are upon is.  It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year.  However this is the time when adults do the most passive aggressive stuff to kids who are victims in the midst of couples who link together.  Please know your limits and be honest with yourself BEFORE you marry.  Stop getting married thinking time will work things out.  You can’t change who you really are when you really don’t want to.  You are just lying to yourself for the sake of marriage or having someone linked to you.  Just stop.  You are bringing in future kids and messing them up before they even have a chance to be in this world and be messed over.  I have had many talks with parents of mixed families before writing this piece.  The sentiments are different  but sadly the situations turn ugly. I have a friend that confided in me that he or she doesn’t want to be married due to the fact that they don’t want to have kids.  The sad part is they gave hope to a mate that they would have kids and now they don’t want to.  That isn’t fair to their hopeful mate. I couldn’t sugar coat it because they are a friend to me.  It’s a messed up situation.  There are years lost now.  I pray that their union can hold on because to me that is a place of betrayal that you can’t deny.  It’s one thing for both partners to be on the same page about not starting a family. However to lie and knowing you aren’t is devastating.

Please step families, stop mistreating kids. I know you really want to get back at the biological parent because you don’t like the fact that your biological family member could have done better in your eyes.  Stop.  Grown folks can be grown and make their decisions. Who someone links up with doesn’t stop your breath, doesn’t make you fat, or bring money into your home.  Leave kids out of your issues.  Let me say that karma never misses so if you intentionally hurt a child please do NOT think that you will reap that.  You and I both reap what we sow.  You get what you dish out so be careful of the servings you dish. Kids should always be respected at all times.  Be underhanded to the adult if that is what you want but don’t do it to a child.

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One last thing, be careful that you don’t fall in love with a monster and it cost your child their innocence.  Too many kids are killed and molested by “step” families and for what? There isn’t enough sex or money in this world for me to sell my kids over to a monster. Please be careful and listen to your kids.  Sometimes what you think is hate from a child could be a cry for help.  I would rather you get a vibrator or a blow up doll before you link up with someone who will mistreat or harm your child.  Oh and it’s sometimes not the step parent but some of these raggedy biological parents are a mess too.  No one is exempt.

Ask yourself the following before you link up with a person?

  1. Do you want kids?  Like actually birth or parent them? Be honest with yourself and the person you are with.  Do NOT give false hope.  Situations may  not be perfect so while you wait for that moment to happen, please be careful that you aren’t hurting your mate in the process.  No one should bring kids in mess, but be honest and open during the hard times too.  It’s not fair for someone to wait for you and you knew you weren’t going to be open to a family.  Allow that mate to make the decision if they want to be open to your maybe or no response.
  2. If you have kids from a previous relationship is the person you are thinking about marrying willing to be a full-time parent?  Are they treating that child with the same respect as if you and he or she birthed that child together? Does the family of your beloved treating the child or children with the utmost respect? Watch how people treat your kids in the bad times because the good times will not cancel out a hurt child over petty inconsiderate comments.
  3. Do you parent a mixed home with the same rules?  Having separate rules for one set of kids over another is creating issues.  Be clear that parenting is a dual partnership in every sense of the word.
  4. Do you have open communication?  Can you child come to you and tell you that one parent has hurt them and you set aside your love for your beloved and investigate? Love is blind.  You should never dismiss a child until you have found out what your child’s issues really are.

Evaluate my life when I feel in Shambles…

Self evaluation of your life should happen often.  How often is up to you.  For me I always have a plan so I may look at things weekly if not daily.  It’s not that I am attempting to carry the weight of the world on my shoulder.  For me it’s always keeping things fresh and always working toward my goal.

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Today is national evaluate your life.  So no doubt many will take the time to think about what they are doing and need to do and haven’t done.  Let me say before you cue in the sad choir, that evaluation can take a lot of mental stimulation.  I know there have been plenty of times in my life where I would evaluate my life than I would go into a deep depression. All I could see was the negative things.  It was a slap in the face of what my potential was and what was actually happening.  I would in my mind want to find the ugliest of clothes and just walk around with nappy hair and sadness.  However in the real world while I was in my pity party, life was moving forward.

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I had to go to work for fear of not paying my bills and the fear of having to come home and say to my parents I couldn’t cut it. So even at my most lowest moment when even Ramen noodles seemed like Red Lobster, I had to keep going.  So how do you pick up the pieces of a shattered life or the life that was meant to be but still hasn’t shown up to greet you?

  1. Make bigger tasks smaller.  You have a plan of what you want.  Always know what it will take to make that plan pop and then find ways to make that happen daily.  If you aren’t doing one thing daily towards your goals you are already losing.  Small goals give you a mental relief until the main goal is achieved.
  2. Give yourself a break.  It is true that those who hustle hard win.  However even in hustling there are days when you are burnt out.  You have to find some time to be gentle to yourself.  You will beat yourself up harder than a fight in the boxing ring.
  3. Know that failure is when you stop not when you get knocked down.  If your goal is to workout 3 days a week and you only made it to 2 days, be grateful and try again.  If you allow your mind to have its way next thing you know you are back to no workouts at all.
  4. Focus man.  Yes that’s for the ladies too.  So many times you focus on what others got, what others are doing, etc and you are losing because you keep comparing.  It’s great to find someone who is at a place you want to be. But let’s keep it real you spend more time comparing yourself to people you never want to be like just because they seem to be temporarily prospering right now. All gain ain’t good gain.  Focus on you.
  5. Learn to find an activity that reduces stress. Let me just say that its hard to do that if you are seconds from losing it all. However its important.  I know plenty who are on their seemingly last leg but they ran, walked, journal, listen to music, etc something to keep their wits about them.  Most of the issues we face in our life has to do with her mind. If you can change your mind and how your mind has you seeing the things around you, half the time you can make more happen for yourself.

So today while you are evaluating all that life has thrown and feel like you too are being thrown, take a few steps back.  Do NOT quit.  Quitting is the biggest result of failure.  You could fall a thousand times before reaching your goal and have others consider you as a failure but when you believe it and allow it to happen you have failed yourself.  I know plenty especially in the relationship category could use this nugget.  They date a few frogs and meanwhile their friends are married, engaged, and having babies, so they immediately they cry when is it their time?  One re-evaluate yourself from the inside out.  We spend a ton of time and money on the outside and very little on the inside. Then we wonder why we attract what we attract. If you won’t date you than no one else will.

Take some time to get a plan and work your own plan.  You can’t simply say I want to move out of my family member’s house but didn’t include a savings plan, haven’t looked at your real budget and not your wish I could budget. You have to do all of those things and more. Step out and work your plan.  Be strategic.  I mean winging it hasn’t served you so get more of a definitive plan in motion.

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I have shared this before but let me say it again if you want to win you will.  I watched my mother who had my twin and baby brother and I as she walked us to the sitter.  She then walked to work and then back to the sitter and then we got the bus  home.  If the bus was late we walked.  We did whatever was necessary.  I also remember being in a homeless shelter for women and kids and thinking to myself how lucky I was.  I didn’t know that we were living below our means.  I had no idea that this wasn’t okay.  My mom never allowed us to believe that.  She never allowed us to be ashamed.  She took on that shame.  So now when I see bratty kids or even worst bratty adults who complain I just smile.  I know how to live and make things work when things were at nothing.  Some people around you have no idea of the things you been through that will get you to your destiny.  I am grateful for being on welfare as a child.  I don’t take for granted. Although I don’t have that in my pathway now, I never will get too big to remember those low days.  I remember when I had done some of the worst things in my life and knowing that at the time I didn’t see a way out and everyone was talking and saying I am this and that and how even with all of that I just kept on and keep on going.  The times you had or will have is preparing you for what is to come.  I don’t allow my very blessed children to take for granted what they have.  I make sure that they give back constantly.  Trust me it’s apart of the bigger picture of their life.

While re-evaluating things today, write some things down.  Don’t just keep it in your head.  Ask questions to the right folks that can help you get to where you want to be. Sometimes the life you think you want isn’t even the life you are supposed to have.  Stop forcing a square into a circle hole.  Sit quiet and know that the plan you are forcing may not be working for you for a reason.

Women’s History Month: Awilda!

Welcome to another wonderful edition of our women’s history month series.  We have been delighted with some great stories thus far.  Today we are going to hear from Awilda Lopez Mercado.  I met Awilda in high school.  Let me tell you of my first impressions of Awilda.  From afar I honestly thought she was this beautiful girl who wouldn’t pay my plain Jane self any attention.  I was wrong.  She was beautiful, well liked, and very approachable. She came up to me and made me feel as if I had known her forever. I really appreciated it that.  Anyone that knows Awilda knows she has a good heart and is very loyal.

She and I went our separate ways and both have grown into wonderful women as well as great mothers.  I really respect her drive and her passions.  I knew doing this series that she was one of those women that others had to get to know as well.  Awilda is acting in a web series based out of DC.  Now I love watching actors and actresses do their thing but its not one of those things I could easily see myself doing.  For Awilda it seems like a no brainer.  I asked her about it and why she chose to go into acting.

“Acting is one of my newest ventures. It’s an escape from the day to day of “corporate America” and being the typical “family woman.”  I’m really enjoying the time I get to engage and learn new skills.”  

When acting one has to be passionate about it in my mind.  Acting is an art.  It’s not easy portraying someone else and the emotions and encompasses them.  Awilda definitely has a natural talent for it.
“My inner passion is simple; I yearn for Peace of Mind. I’m at peace when I’m surrounded by nature and no “to do” list. I love escaping to quiet areas and sunny beaches. With all the complexity of a hectic day, peace of mind is the only reward worth pursuing.”

We all know what its like to escape to your happy place.  Let me say if you don’t know what its like to tune the world out and only focus on yourself, please find the time to do so.  It really is that rewarding.  I have found that even when I can’t get to the sunny beaches that a little alone time really makes me a better person to deal with.  Peace of mind is one of the most precious things that you can’t buy.

We live in a world that is so full of hate. Its not that everyone we come into contact with is hateful but you can’t escape it.  One of the things we have to understand that we all have something that we can share with the world.  Something that we believe is making the world just a little bit better.  Whether its our talents, gifts, etc.

“I love to share my energy with people. I tend to bring a positive outlook on all situations. If I can share one experience with anyone, I always strive to make it a positive and memorable one.”

Think about what Awilda is saying.  You have a lot of negative Nancies out here.  They only want to dwell on the problem.  We need more people embracing and finding a solution and looking at things from a positive side.  Let me say that it may not always solve every problem but I do believe when you change your disposition in things it may be the only problem that needed to be solved.

We all have a message we would have wanted to tell our younger self.  For me I would have told LaToi to be more outgoing.  I was so afraid and held back because I was so caught up in the ideals of what I was supposed to be I didn’t tap into my true self until much later in life.  Think about what you would tell your younger self.  I asked Awilda on what she would tell her younger self:
“I would tell her to follow all of her dreams. To not stop pursuing goals because of what others think of them. Also, to travel the world. To go so far, that you never look back.”

What are we put on the earth to do?  This is a question you must pursue if you don’t already know.  The message in what you want others to gleam from you will change. Yes you are not and will not be the same person you were 10 years ago.  You can keep a lot of physical attributes, but on the inside you will change.  Life happens.  Life is the best teacher.  That’s why growing up when elders told us things and we didn’t appear to receive it, they would say just live a little.  Its a very true and meaningful thing to experience.

What are you demonstrating to the world daily?  What are you giving to the world as a part of what you possess?

For Awilda it couldn’t be more clearer:
“Be a doer. Do things and keep doing them. Stop trying, if you only try, you will never accomplish that goal. I have to challenge myself on a daily basis to do better. I literally talk to myself:) I have to give myself pep talks and project exactly what I want to accomplish. When I hear it, it motivates me to do it.”

What is motivating you?  What are the things you have put on hold?  Whatever it is make the change today.  Like Awilda we have life pulling us a thousand ways.  She is a mother, a woman, and still has to balance the demands of her passions, work, love life, etc.  You too may have some of the same pulls.  It varies from person to person.  What doesn’t vary is the notion that we must look within ourselves and make things happen. We can’t simple exist and wish for better days if we aren’t out there creating it.