It’s NEVER Too Late

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all have hopes, dreams, goals, aspirations, plans and then reality hits. You lose your scholarship for college, you have to work two jobs just to pay off your tuition balance, maybe you become a parent, unplanned and unexpected, maybe there is a family emergency and you have to place your life on hold to be with the family. Maybe you fail your first semester and end up on probation, or maybe you just quit. Regardless of the circumstance, your performance, or your diligence, sometimes life is just hard and dreams sometimes fade. For the last five years, you have promised yourself to go back to school and finish that degree, to become more so your children have an example to follow, to pay off debt, and revive the dream that once burned within you, but you are stuck right now. You are doing your routine, work, family, home flawlessly but secretly wondering is this all my life is going to be? I am ever going to finish anything that I really want? Something has to give…

Right now, you have been blessed with an amazing opportunity, TODAY. Stop planning to do something and do it now. I know, it sounds good and it even may get you excited but life has a way of reminding you what your priorities are. Well, no life is worth living without a dream. Children are the best example of how adults (grown children) need to live. They want to be astronauts, presidents, scientist, rock stars, teachers and all of those dreams live because they do not worry about what tomorrow may bring. Children remind us that we always have time to live the dream that is inside our heart. Children remind us to have NO FEAR!! Take the limits off yourself and run until you finish.  No, I certainly don’t want to be five again, but I do want that faith of my five-year old self. I tell you the truth, It’s Never Too Late! See you at the finish line!

Happy New Life!

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Begin Again

Life.  It is one of the most rewarding, most difficult, most complex, most fun gifts that we have been given. Life takes everything that you are and then demands more than seems possible for you to give. Life, is an individual journey, shared with family, friends, enemies, and strangers. There are moments when words escape you to describe how you feel, then there are moments when life causes you to burst into uncontrollable laughter, some moments that you cry, and some where there is no emotion at all. Yet, we all have one life.

January is the first month of the calendar year, most of the world makes resolutions, determinations, just plans to live life differently than the last twelve months. By the end of this first month, most of us have returned to Life, just how it was last year. Why is that? I mean is it difficult to commit? Do we really think that changing is the best option until we have to do it? Is it peer pressure, is it laziness, is it fear? What happens between December 31 and January 31 has stifled the entire population. There is a drive to be, to do something anything new, until Life interrupts. So how do we change that?

What guides you? What are you passionate about? Who do you love? These questions hold the answer to your attempt and mine in January that fail by February. If we set a goal, why is the goal not centered around my passion? If we want a change in our lives, why not focus on the people we love to help change it? If we want a new career, why are we afraid to follow our hearts desire? Why? Because we think if we try to and fail, it’s over. Here’s the truth, every morning we have new mercies, new grace, to begin again. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised, but you have today. Begin Again, right now. Accomplish something today. Don’t spend this gift of today planning for next year, live right now.

Begin Again.

Happy New Life!

Lamentations 3:21-23

Shut Up!!?!

When I was younger, ‘Shut Up” was a bad word. I mean you would have thought I said some serious profane, vulgar word when I let that phrase slip out of my mouth. I used to dream of the day that I could say it without fear of consequence. My mom would always say, those words are so ugly and there are better words that you can use to convey the same message. Man, I didn’t want to hear that. If I didn’t like something said, I would not prefer to use, please close your lips, cease from speaking, could you please employ silence, I wanted to say SHUT UP!!! Ha!

Anyway, even still as an adult, I always think twice and look to see where my mom is before I say those words. This really has me thinking, words indeed have power. Words can build, destroy, grow, change the course of action, mean everything or mean absolutely nothing. Take for instance how many words we read in a day, whether through our news feed, a blog, email, text, words are everywhere. Those words are just read silently, but we say them aloud, in an instant those words become alive, active, engaged, moving.

When I say shut up, I usually mean stop talking, and I want instant silence for a minute. But what is heard is; stop talking, I don’t want you to speak, what you say is worthless and invaluable, please don’t waste my time talking, just stop. Now, I think, what I am doing? I don’t mean anything other that be quiet when I use those words, but when someone hear’s it, they may just shut up. I cannot bare the responsibility of speaking words of death, gloom, hatred to anyone, and my only reply is, “sorry that’s not what I meant.” Although that is probably true, I am responsible for what I say.

Let’s clean up our words! Speak Life! Proverbs 18:21 Death and Life are in the power of the tongue; and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof. 

Happy New Life!!

Write a Note

If you are like me, there is something special about a handwritten note. First of all, the person used actual pen and paper and thought about the message they were going to leave you. When I grew up, in the 80’s there were no mobile phones. Ok, there were except they were as big as your face and you could not Facebook, Tweet, or even text. So instant communication was pen and paper. When we would come home from school, our Mom would leave notes for us explaining what chores she expected to be completed when she came home from work. The note would be extremely detailed, leaving no room for misinterpretation of her expectations. Sometimes she would write(draw) a smiley face on the note. Now if you could imagine your mom or dad drawing, it was kind of like this. A huge circle, ( that was my head), two smaller oval shapes for my eyes, two dark big dots for my eyeballs,and about 5-6 lines for my eyelashes. Now to complete this, she would draw a huge smile ( no teeth) two half-circles attached to the side of my face for my ears, and some BIG HAIR!!! That image, no Picasso but beautiful nonetheless made me smile.

Words and images are so powerful. We take the advantage we now have with social media and abuse the reader by writing words and posting (drawing) images that damage all those who see. It almost seems like that the art of communication has been lost, because we forgot why we write.

My Mom wrote to provide instruction, guidance, humor but most of all love. When I became a Mom I followed her example and began to write notes in the children’s lunch boxes. I would use that moment to say to each of them what they mean to me. Most times after a conversation with each of them separately, the theme for that week’s note is made. The note is designed to make them feel special, to help them remember who they are, to remind them of their dreams, but most importantly to never let them forget I love them.  Taking time to put a few thoughts to paper was overwhelming at first. I thought with the schedule of the morning, I am not adding one more thing. But the first time I forgot a note and all three of my kids said, “mom where’s our note?” I knew it was more than just a chore, it was a connection.

Take time to tell those you love, those you are working on loving, even those you don’t love right now, the truth through pin and paper. Use those words to reflect what you need to do, and how you want to change the relationship. It may be old-fashioned, but today I wrote you a note!

Happy New Life!

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I would like to introduce, Me

Identity, it can be a blessing or a curse. Most of the time in life, we never stop to think about who we are. We spend most of our time telling people who we are based on what we answer too. I am the oldest daughter of Leroy and Cynthia, I am the older sister to ReeKa and a Mom to too many children to list… ha! However, are those names accurately describing who I am or are they just part of who I am? Part of the struggle I have had with my identity,  is based on defining who I am, in order to meet or match the expectations of those who know and love me. I strive to be excellent, kind, loving, loud, bossy (indeed), but also loyal. The problem however, is not knowing when or how to pull back and remember who I really am at my core.

Shakespeare, said it best, “to thine own self be true” but who is that? We define ourselves by our position; manager, owner, CEO; our occupation, doctor, lawyer, teacher, police officer; our responsibility, mother, father, sister, brother, but none of these words really describe me. I do not plan to spend anymore time looking for myself. I want to be found, immediately. I want to figure out what I like to eat, what I like to wear, where I would like to live without the pressure of anyone/anything else to influence my decision to be happy with me.

One of my favorite scriptures states; I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are thy works that my soul knoweth right well (Psalm 139:14).  And since I totally believe this verse. I wanted to introduce me to you.

I am joyful, quirky, a lover of learning, at times lazy, a food connoisseur, cannot make anything crafty,  but I love to see them made, NEVER WANTS TO WORK, loves to shop on clearance, and I literally want to be retired from this day forward. I am totally fine with me and invite you to become fine with you. Peel back all the names you answer to and get to your core, and embrace Y-O-U! It’s a pleasure to meet you.

Happy New Life!!

I Got a New Attitude

Sing it with me….

I’m feelin’ good from my head to my shoes
Know where I’m goin’ and I know what to do
I tidied up my point of view
I got a new attitude                                                                                                                 Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
I got a new attitude!!  ~Ms. Patti LaBelle

We have all heard and probably said, I have a new attitude. What affected me last year, last month, heck even yesterday, will not today! Sadly by 8:30 in the morning the same ole’ attitude is back in full effect. I can not tell you how I used to always say, her attitude is ridiculous, that is exactly why no one likes her or him. If they ever intended to make it in the world they better do an attitude check quickly. During my rant and being the internal disposition police for society, I never could gauge my own attitude.

It is as easy as breathing to point out what’s wrong with someone and why their life is in the pits because of their attitude. We spend our entire educational journey learning how your attitude determines your altitude. If you grew up in a house like mine, the only person authorized to have an attitude was my mom, all others would be shut down. So I better save my neck popping and eye rolling for my homies at school, because at home I would definitely be a candidate to meet My Jesus sooner rather than later.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but wonder now as an adult how my attitude has shaped my life. If I choose to allow what others say to me to become what I say about myself, I have now taken on their attitude about me. The problem? Those people and what they say is really about them. I cannot help how I look, that is genetic, I cannot help where I was born, my parents are responsible for that, but I CAN HELP MY RESPONSE TO LIFE! No, nothing is perfect, nothing is easy, but all things are worth the fight.

My attitude is one of my biggest enemies. It tells me how to look at others and judge, it tells me how to criticize no progress, it tells me how to blame others for my failures, it tells me, I’m always right. What my attitude fails to tell me is,  at the end of the day I will be alone, because I choose to keep my attitude instead of my life.

Dude, 2014 is WORK!! Work that I am willing to pay daily for the best life ever. I will not waste one more day, or roll my eyes at anyone else, today I got a New Attitude! 

Happy New Life!!

No, I Didn’t Do It!!!

My baby is 11 years old, and I completely adore her. She was the first grand baby for my parents and she has been “privileged” in her short time here on Earth.  My father only has girls, (my younger sister and I) and  then he was blessed with two granddaughters. He sighed and said, “Oh Lord, more women.” Anyway, my baby loves the Disney Channel. No I mean she is  absolutely engrossed with the Disney Channel. As she grew, we watched many shows, yes you guessed it on the Disney Channel and I think for the last 11 years, I forgot what regular television programming was like.  The Disney Channel has been a staple in her life and we have shared many memories around the television. Recently, the Disney Channel introduced a new show entitled, “I didn’t do it,” and I was in awe. The premise of the show is five best friends that have outrageous adventures and when those go awry, parents interrogate and the reply is, “I didn’t do it.”

While contemplating what the show could possible teach my baby who adores the Disney Channel, I thought more about how many times in my life I have used those very words. When I was younger my parents taught me to always tell the truth to avoid punishment, that didn’t alleviate the punishment but it did soften the blow. Yet watching this preview made me think, those words are true.

No I didn’t go to Law school, because I became a Mommy. No I didn’t go to Spain and earn another graduate degree because I was really scared. No I didn’t forgive those who hurt me because I wanted to make sure they could not hurt me again. No I didn’t say sorry to those I hurt, offended, or cut out of my life, because they are at fault. No I didn’t start my dream business because I didn’t have the money. No I didn’t love again because it’s easier to nurse a broken heart than let it heal. No I didn’t live the life God gave me because I didn’t want to do it!

The purpose of this show is to find humor in not owning my own stuff, but as an adult there is nothing funny about saying, living and believing, No I didn’t do it.

Happy New Life!

One more try

How many of us have said, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try try again?” Some of us may have even said the later modified version, “if at first you don’t succeed, quit.” These two statements make me chuckle. I am amazed at how when I was younger, trying to do anything was a daily routine. I did not capitalize on my inadequacies or fear, heck I’m not even sure I knew what those words meant back then. All I understood is that if I want to do something I can just try.  The failure, I thought was is not attempting to do it, not actually failing at it. Now as an adult I am saddened at how often in life I have done the latter, just quit. Why? Absolutely for NO REASON! I can’t explain why I quit, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I mean who works to accomplish a goal, not reach it, then try again? No one.

It doesn’t make sense to keep going, right? If I fail at learning how to drive a standard car, it means that I buy an automatic. If I fail at college the first time, it means I was never a college student anyway. If I fail at money management, I just blame the government, they are the reason everyone has debt.  If I fail at my personal relationships, it is ALWAYS the other’s person fault, why because I am perfect.  Funny this sounds ludicrous for anyone to think or act in this manner, yet I have done those things and used those excuses and believed every single word.

But this moment is new. My life has become precious, not due to any tragedy or magical epiphany, it is a choice. I choose to live differently now because it is possible. I decided that my legacy will not include the words, failed to try because that is just selfish. How can I inspire, motivate or change others if I refuse to change me first? I decided no matter the cost, no matter how uncomfortable I may be or become during the process, His Grace is more than enough and my life is worth One More Try!

Happy New Life!

Courage

You just need 20 seconds of courage, the tagline from the movie We Bought A Zoo.  Twenty seconds, that’s long enough to heat up some leftovers in the microwave, it’s long enough to send a text message, it might even be enough time to answer your cell phone. But what really matters is not time, but courage.

Have you ever faced anything in your life that scared you completely? Have you ever questioned how or even if you would make it until tomorrow? Have you ever lost hope, faith, trust, love? Can you think of just one time that you needed courage in your life? In the face of difficulty, you find the strength to do the one thing that frightens you. I’m not talking about going to school, or approaching a potential love interest,  I’m talking about a strength that causes you to continue when all hope seems gone.

When you hold your loved one’s hand for the last time, when a raging fire destroys your home, when a career that you relied on suddenly collapses and financial ruin is the least of your concerns, when the diagnosis from the doctor is terminal, when life is just life.  Do you still have the will to fight, the will to live, do you still have courage? Can you in the face of pain or grief find strength to continue? Can you be brave? Can you be fearless? Can you be bold?

Tonight, in your life what do you need to face? Don’t spend one more day hiding or running from fear, stop turn around and face it. You and I have a New Year to have a New Life.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Happy Courageous New Life!

 

The Beauty of Hope

I have a blended family. When my husband and I married I inherited four children, two girls and two boys. His children are older than my daughter and to say I was nervous about our union would be a drastic understatement. Being a mother, I was not worried if I would be good enough, I was only worried if I could show them how to love, the way God loves each of us.  Within three months of our union, my son’s (16 and 14 at the time) came to live with us. I was shocked, overwhelmed, nervous and excited. I always wanted to have son’s so this was my opportunity. However, what has happened over the last year has radically altered my life.

Imagine being newlyweds, with one child and then suddenly adding two more to the mix, and did I mention we were still newlyweds? How in the world, do you adjust, how do you make it work, how do you not lose hope? I have never raised a teenager, and matter of fact my son’s were almost raised when the arrived at our home. I have never had to deal with the pressure of high school graduation requirements, transferring from another state and school, finding opportunities for social engagement, and then adding our Faith into a cloud mix. I was drowning in my own life. I felt like I was losing my mind. How in the world am I going to work, be a mom, a wife, a cheerleader, a confidant, a guide, a disciplinarian, and still love? I was hopeless. I was scared.

My oldest son, now a Senior graduating May 24, 2014 was hopeless that first day of his junior year last January. He stood in our kitchen with tears in his eyes, the report from the guidance counselor was, there is no hope, you will not graduate with your class next year. My heart sank, how in world, when in the world, Lord help me right now….what do I say, what do I do?  I felt hopeless in that moment, so I relied on God who is Love,  and wrapped my arms around him, and said, this is not your life, this is only one moment in your life and you will graduate next year.

As an adult, blessed with family and friends that pushed me, encouraged me and supported me, I never worried about high school, college, travel or my career, I always believed I would and I did. But standing in my kitchen I did not know what would happen. In life there are moments that we just don’t know what will happen, and losing hope is the first option we execute and sometimes the only option.

The last year contained many fights, sleepless nights, constant meetings with teachers, administrators, testing liaisons, late night talks, and prayer. I sometimes question did I have enough faith, can I really believe God, can I really help my son believe he can do this? The only answer I could hold on to was hope.

Today, my son and I met with his Dual Credit adviser and a miracle occurred. She informed him that because of his performance over the last two semesters, he would not only be eligible for a scholarship to pay 100% of his tuition beginning Summer of 2014, but with work he could graduate with his Associate’s degree in 2015. His face lit up, and it wasn’t the news, it was joy knowing God answered his prayer and he was now going to become whatever he liked. We left the office running to our car like little kids, entered the house and he said, ” Mom, with a smile from here to China, I just want to say thanks.” We hugged. In that moment I remember what happened in the kitchen, I remembered how scared I was to inherit four children, I remember how many nights I cried, how we fought, how I wanted to give up, and then tonight, I experienced the Beauty of Hope!

Happy New Life!   P.S. 103 School Days until Graduation!!!! 🙂