“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” – C.S. Lewis
Some days you just want to stay under covers until it passes. Everything from addressing hospital negligence where my mom is to having to study for a licensing exam that I will be taking in less than week, it feels a little overwhelming. Funny thing is you can’t stay under the covers for long because every day you wake up is a gift. And I guess, we show our gratitude for this day in this gift called “life” by staying present even when we want to run and hide. Others look us to make it all better, so to speak and our love for them forces back into the fray to make it happen. We look back at different periods in our lives and wonder “how did we do it?,” “how did we get through it?” The truth is we didn’t do it by ourselves. So, today as I tackle the tasks of today, I remember that God is with me and He has my back. I don’t have to stay under the covers even if it’s tempting to do so on a gray day. I can take solace in the fact that He’s always working it out on my behalf.
“Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” –John Wesley
Lately I’ve been thinking about wealth, money, savings, and my relationship with money. I don’t always resist and implement the delayed gratification rule. I shop online, I’m an accessory hog, I love shoes and I love to dress up even when it’s business casual. Being on my own and becoming an entrepreneur has me thinking differently. Although the contract I have now has unlimited income potential, I can’t realize its potential if I don’t exercise some restraint and prudent money management practices. Sure, I need great things to make a great image presentation because after all image is everything. But what I’ve come to learn is that confidence is really your best accessory and the amount of shoes in your closet really can’t make up for that. Now, it’s not to say I will stop buying shoes altogether and I don’t get a rise out of accessorizing but what will affect my decision from this point on is what else could this money do for me? Invest in my “empire-in-the-making” that I hope to leave behind as a legacy like Liz Claiborne.
I mention her because I just saw something about the company transferring to JCPenney. Claiborne died of cancer in 2007 after a two-year struggle but her name lives on and I remember wearing some of her clothes when I was younger. She actually influenced the way stores merchandising clothing today. She didn’t think consumers should have to run all around the entire store trying to put together an outfit so she had everything in one place. Shopping is fun but it can be time-consuming when you’re trying to put together outfits but I digress. So currently, as I’m plunking down cash for this or that, I’m thinking about logos, marketing, everything that will make “Fit and Fab” come to life and live beyond me in some form of fashion, no pun intended. I’m rethinking my decisions and yes, returning some items.
My sweetie are headed to Tulsa next week to see my girlfriend and we have a budget that can surely evaporate if I don’t make wise decisions. Now, I could buy a shoe, purse, or bag everyday but these days I’m thinking of the experiences and lives I can change with that same dollar. Sure, I want to be like Barbara Walters and interview icons well into my 70s but long after you turn off the television, you’ll be wearing something with that “Fit and Fab” tag sewn into it. This vision requires money, business acumen and discipline and I’m willing to relearn, no scratch that, learn new ways of relating to money so that I can leave an inheritance to whoever precedes me. Humph, sounds like I’m growing up. It’s Day 79 and we’re sliding into the end of October, are you maximizing your resources so you can bring your dreams to fruition? Until next time, stay fit and be fab for life!
Randomness: The bootie above is an Alexander McQueen design found online at Zappos Couture.
“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” – Oscar Wilde
There have been times when I woke up and realized I missed an appointment from the day before. This forces me to keep tiny to-do lists to help me stay on point. Centralizing my calendars would probably help but that’s beside the point. What’s more important here is when you make your list, are you putting yourself on your to-do list and crossing “you” off the list after you’ve done you? How many times have you told yourself that you were going to get up early every morning at 6 a.m. and exercise for an hour, only to find yourself making that same promise at the top of the following week. I prefer to exercise in the morning because something inevitably comes up in the evening that forces me to not keep that commitment. The problem is we, women especially, take on everybody else’s priorities pushing ourselves to bottom of our list. Unfortunately, we pushed ourselves to the bottomless place of oblivion. Why does this occur? Fearing we will be called “selfish” for putting ourselves first might be the cause. But isn’t putting yourself first and taking care of yourself, a more selfless act? One can argue that you’ll certainly be healthier, saner to handle the demands of your loved ones?
The other day I was watching “I Used to be Fat.” This particular episode told the story of young African American woman named Daria, who was overweight. She agreed to be on the show and allow viewers to watch her transform over the next 90 days. She met up against a lot of obstacles that were mainly self-induced. She would work out for four hours daily and then cheat eat. The trainer kept questioning her lack of progress and she finally broke down and told her that mom’s lack of support enabled her self-sabotaging. Her mom was single and really needed her to help with her little brother, get a job and help with the bills. Along with those demands, she thought Daria’s efforts to lose weight were very selfish but really she was doing something for her health. Now, there were certainly other dynamics at work here but she acknowledged these factors as well as her desire for mother’s support, communicated with her mom and was able to resume losing weight regularly in the remaining time period. So it got me thinking, are we programmed to believe that being selfish is wrong o? And if so, when is it really wrong and what does it really mean to be selfish.
Now, I’m not saying you should become self-serving to the detriment of others but when do you begin to put yourself at the top of your list and cross “you” off once you’re done? What everyone values is different. I do believe we should start to value ourselves more, quiet the judgmental voices in our head, climb back to the top of the paper line and recognize what it really means to be selfish.
Randomness: The picture above comes from 30daydoit.com. Today is my maternal grandmother’s Grace’s birthday. She’s deceased now but she made some of the best sweet potato pies this side of Heaven and that’s how my love affair with sweet potato pies began. This is Day 80 with just a few more days left in October. Let’s finish 2011 strong!
Until you take that step you can’t move forward. Sometimes you don’t know the direction until you start walking. As I begin Day 3 of the pre-licensing course, I realize that I’m enjoying the momentum that comes as a result of doing. It has nothing to do with media, my book, or anything related towards those goals but having structure enables to me to appreciate the commodity of time a little more. Getting up at 5 am to workout, grabbing coffee and breakfast, getting somewhere on time has enabled to become conscientious about how I’m spending my time. Tomorrow will be my last full day of the course and then I’ll be studying for the next week or so until the Life Insurance exam on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to passing the first time and hitting the ground running at the beginning of the month. We just have to trust that once we start walking in ANY direction, our inner compasses guides us the rest of the way and we will move forward to the intended destination.
Today is my only child’s 20th birthday. I spent my day learning the difference between whole life and term life insurance while he spent his day getting his haircut, buying tabs for his car and going to see my mom at the hospital. It wasn’t exactly how we planned to celebrate but we spent the weekend together dropping off clothes to the Salvation Army, perusing cute little shops in Royal Oak, and eating burgers at a tiny restaurant called “Lil Bros.” By the way, the Salvation Army is now Sally’s on the 4th.
We passed the burger joint as we were heading towards Main Street when I asked him if he wanted that for lunch and he was sensitive enough to ask what could I eat there. For the most part I try to watch what I eat, but indulging a little with people I love is an opportunity I don’t pass up. I just have to work out more. He went back to school so unfortunately I didn’t get to see him once I got out of training but we spoke several times through the day. He sent me a pic of my mom and him while I was in class and that made me smile. That was a nice little gift for him although having my mother out of that darn hospital would be so much nicer. I look forward to us celebrating at one of his favorite restaurants this weekend.
Twenty years ago I held my little handsome baby in my arms and I vividly remember his eyes looking up at me after I finally mastered breast-feeding. I would just hold him and stare at him. He was so beautiful and I used to love to hear his cry. I look forward to another twenty years of birthdays and other celebrations that allow me to forever express the love that started way before I had him on this day years ago. Happy Birthday Kevin. Mom is one of your biggest fans!
It’s Day 82 and I’m learning to be more present in the moment and experience the abundance of love in me and around me. Love is always in the air. Just inhale and exhale, allowing it fill your lungs to the point that every breath you take is nothing but love.
A full day following church left me scrambling for my sister’s laptop to blog. Unfortunately, connection issues didn’t allow me to do that but I vowed to keep my word to myself and blog everyday. Here I am, home safely, my head is full and my lids are heavy yet I choose to type just a few words to keep my promise to myself.
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day. – President Abraham Lincoln
I saw President Lincoln’s quote while sitting in a conference room waiting to fill out paperwork for a job that I had accepted and it struck me. Prayer is so powerful. You can do it anywhere and no one has to know you’re doing it. Many times I have simply said a prayer under my breath and sometimes when people say pray for me, I’ve done that do too, right then and there. I remember many times while we were at the hospital for my mom where we would gather around her bed, hold hands and everyone would pray in agreement. We didn’t need to wait on a chaplain to get a prayer in. On more than one occasion my son and I have prayed with one another to help us get through some tumultuous times as we’ve experienced my mother being in and out of the hospital for the last two years.
When my mom had this last stroke in July, we met with the doctors to discuss end-of-life choices. Our family had decided to wait before making any rash decision. Of course everyone was upset and emotions were high. My son grabbed me by the hand and we went to the chapel when things just got to be too much. We sat there, just me and him and prayed. So many times after I’ve prayed, I have felt something lift and other times I’ve felt drained but I know this for sure, prayer works. My mom who was previously non-responsive, would come out of the coma and while her recovery is slow, she is still with us. You can’t get enough of prayer and I should probably do more of it but I know God hears our prayers and He answers them. Even if the answers are not always the ones we want, it is our trust in Him that should ultimately lead us to believe that His love would have Him choose nothing but the best for us and after all doesn’t He know best?
I think sometimes we forget the privilege of being able to simply talk to Him without fear of judgement. Yes, He knows your heart but being able to get something off your chest does wonders for your heart. Holding it inside versus having that private time with Him should not be underestimated. There are times where I’ve just recited favorite scriptures during my prayer time. I can’t say there’s a right or wrong way to pray but I know it’s something we can’t live without so the best thing to do is just start and not worry about any rules. Even if it feels like a one-way conversation, trust me He will answer you and talk back to you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. We just have to be open to how and when He does choose to talk to us, sometimes long after we gotten off our knees.
“The thing always happens that you really believe in, and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” – Frank Lloyd Wright
My relocation plans have been put on hold and I decided to go back to work until some family matters are handled. I vacillated about staying put because I thought it meant giving up my dreams but I realized I’ve made a conscious decision to support my family. In the meantime, I’ll be working and continuing to nurture my dreams. The book is coming together and I’m glad I don’t have to format it in its entirety as the publishing company will do that. I’ve learned that self-publishing requires so much self-discipline as a cookbook idea currently ruminates in my head. I’m looking forward to seeing the final “Fit and Fab” logo so I can splash it across T-shirts. Additionally, for research I’ve been taking pictures of clothing to serve as inspiration for the fitness line. I’m preparing for my Fit and Fab group event. So, in retrospect I’m still making things happen which is probably why I needed to itemize everything help me SEE that I’m not being stagnant. Fortunately, the job I applied for two days ago and got will give me the freedom to bring everything to fruition. I want to realize all the ideas inside of me and hopefully change the world for the better as a result of it.
“You’ve got to find what you love.” – Steve Jobs
This is Day 86 and as I count down to the end of year and remain steadfast to my commitment to blog everyday for the next 90-something days, this is my personal tribute to Mr. Jobs, who succumbed to a long battle of pancreatic cancer on October 5, 2011. During a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, Steve Jobs, visionary, co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Computers, told students to find what they love. He recalled how fascinated he was with the beauty of calligraphy and how he decided to take a class after dropping out of college to learn about the history of the handwriting. While that might have seemed like a frivolous choice at the time, it came back to him when he was designing the first Macintosh computer, which would include the beautiful typography. Time and time again, his passion, curiosity and innovation has undoubtedly changed our world for the better – from the iPod to iPad. Unfortunately, his passing on yesterday has rocked our world and yet a little piece of him is not too far away from us as we answer our phone, download a song, an app or two, or even take a picture to post on facebook or twitter.
As I sit typing this entry on my wireless keyboard. I remember my first encounter with the gadgets, emblazoned with the bitten apple logo came in 2007. I wanted the best and I was looking to buy a new computer so I chose an Apple desktop computer with the huge screen that would later allow me to watch movies on a flat screen-like monitor. I also got my first iPod at the same time as part of a special. What a smart way to get me to use more Apple gadgets don’t you think. It was hot pink and I couldn’t wait to download my first song. I once left my iPod at the gym and remembered how distraught I was when I lost it. As the music was my personal collection of favorites and I missed my little hot pink gadget. Fortunately, a kind neighbor found it and returned it.
I remembered thinking when I bought the computer that it would change my life and it has – so many times over. One of the news reporters said this morning that Mr. Jobs’ path to success was basically wrought with twists and turns and that’s how it looked to us on the outside. But he was simply living, loving and learning – marching to the beat of his own drum and my God look how many of us are dancing to his music in some form of fashion today. We simply can’t and probably never will face another day without this man’s legacy touching us in one way or another. Allow his legacy to guide you to your place of greatness inside of you ready to be unleashed or downloaded (if you will) that will also change lives. It would behoove us all to become more inclined to take Mr. Jobs’ advice and find what we love. Your purpose in is your passion. In response to his 2005 advice to find what you love, I heed it and I personally respond “iWill.”
During his 2005 commencement speech, he recounts three personal stories that are timelessly inspiring. You can check out the entirety of his speech here.
Today is my father’s birthday. People say I look like him. I lost him several years ago in 1996. I found out he died after I came home from a funeral for my girlfriend’s grandmother. I don’t think about that moment a lot as it seems I’ve locked it away because it was so painfully traumatic. He was a good guy who had his share of struggles and complexities. Today, as I remember what would have been his 79th birthday (I’ll have to ask my mom that one because he changed his age so he could join the military), I remember all the great qualities, attributes and cool memories.
He once bought me a silver 3-speed bicycle with a black-cushioned seat so I could keep up with all the other girls when we went bike riding. Another time when time he remodeled the basement after I took him a picture of a design I found in a home magazine. I loved when he got off from work because we would still have time to play before my mom got home and we had dinner. He always took up for me and was very protective of my sister and I. He was always looking for ways to fulfill his family’s needs. I was a “fashionista-in-the-making” a very young age, when him and mom drove all around Detroit so that my sister could have two pairs of black and white patent leather boots like mine. This was a quite a feat as my sister’s feet were a lot smaller.
He was the only one that knew who was ambidextrous and he was a very talented artist. I think that’s where my son and I got it from. I simply chose to be artistic in my execution of words although I can draw if I really want to. My son happens to do both equally well. My father loved his daughters and we loved him. God, I miss him and wish he was here today. Going through these past two rollercoaster years of my mom being ill has been tough on us all and to have him would really help. I would have loved for him to meet his grandchildren, my son Kevin and my beautiful niece Rayna, who by the way named her “Build-A-Bear,” Frank and told my sister to talk to my Dad in Heaven. Writing about him now is painful but it also allows me to also remember my father’s love. Daddy, I’ll love you forever!