Stop Drop and Roll

“We live in a world in which we are dependent on others; we cannot expect to fulfill our goals while disregarding others’ needs” ~ Dalai Lama

I can remember back to when I was a child, I’ve always been a nurturer. Maybe it has something to do with me being the eldest of 3 siblings that I evolved into a mothering person, feeling as though it’s my duty to care after loved ones and their best interest. I was not expecting reciprocation, but signs of appreciation was my gratification. Maybe I was born with a helpful spirit.
Be it as it may, I am a believer that we do unto others as we would like to be done unto us. There are plenty occasions where I’ve bent over backwards to make someone feel included, comfortable, safe, happy, and even worthy (and times when I haven’t). Who doesn’t appreciate those feelings? I love to be on the receiving end of acts of kindness whether random or intentional, great and small! I also know that my blessings may not be returned by the person to whom I’d been a blessing- my mother, children or even great grandchildren can very well benefit from a simple genuine and kind gesture that I performed, and that’s fine with me.
Sometimes giving (money, time, and even a smile) can be a little uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a cheerful charitable child of God! I have a lot on my table, but to whom much is given much is required, and when I am called upon to help, I’ve learned to Stop Drop and Roll when I am chosen to be a blessing, even if it’s at an inconvenient time…I must Stop (and put myself in that person’s shoes) Drop (what I’m doing or what I believe my plan for the moment is) and Roll (with the waves and let generosity and kindness carry me to where I need to be in order to carry out His plan). And if (which is almost always the case) I am in line with the divine plan- whatever it is that I had to put on hold will come together better than I could have ever imagined! I’ve put this to the test and so should you! Be a blessing! Be well! Be balanced! C’est la vie!

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Self Love Assessment

image“You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient enough to fulfill the yearning that your soul requires from you.”~ Dodinsky

We have completed the first quarter of 2016! This is a great time to do a self love assessment, just to be sure you haven’t put yourself on the bottom of your new year “to do” list . Look for signs of denying yourself but giving feverently to please others. It’s easy to get to a point of overlooking things that will improve yourself spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally for various reasons such as a broken heart, depression, detesting your place of employment, unhappy with your home life, love life or lack thereof. Many people find approval, acceptance and reinforcement from outside sources. Latching on to something or someone to receive the feelings of being desired, needed, wanted, that gitty euphoria or simply knowing that you’re being thought of at any cost are signs of diminishing self worth. When YOU know how great you are and i mean BELIEVE it- you don’t require this from your children, a mate, text messages or food. Here’s a little regiment to keep yourself at the top of your list of having a great year.
start your day with a daily affirmation- there’s an app for that!
visualize your day and put positive energy into how you want the events to happen
have happy thoughts ON PURPOSE- when you find your thoughts wander off to your troubles, acknowledge the thought and quickly replace them with thoughts that make you feel good:

•be GRATEFUL- offer up a few little or a big “thank you” at the start of your day, during the day, and at the end of the day

•SMILE! studies show that the simple act of smiling increases your endorphins (positive feeling chemicals in the body)

•do something great for YOU! although I encourage doing acts of kindness for others, it is imperative to be kind to yourself. Eat something healthy, exercise- a 20 minute walk after dinner, light a candle, use the good china (why let the dishes and glasses collect dust in between the holidays and special occasions?)

•say NO! when you have a “to do” list that’s only half completed, say NO to non-emergency favors that will just keep you from reaching your daily or weekly goal

•SET FEEL GOOD GOALS: meal planning, journaling, fitness, self pampering, shopping, paying off a credit card bill- but be mindful of your budget, overspending will not make you feel good in the long run once the bills roll in- the goal is to have a great year and excessive debt is not a good feeling!

•end your day with prayer (a conversation with God) and meditation (clearing your thoughts) for a good night’s rest

•change your scenery, be it a daycation, staycation, or vacation- a change of scenery clears the head, opens the heart, heals the spirit and recharges our motivation battery!

Whatever you choose to show yourself how much you love you and how important you are to you…your future self will thank you for it! Share in the comments how you exercise self love. Be well…Be balanced…Be blessed!

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Building Substantial Relationships

“As you wait for that one great life changing event to happen….you have missed one thousand…” ~angel

Our life is comprised of many small incidents that have lead up to great happenstances. First steps begin with standing, holding on and dancing, until BOOM she’s walking! The big graduation ceremony was a million experiences within hundreds of days that were filled with sweat, tears, sleepless nights, sunny days and study sessions all of which carried you up to the big day. Life’s special moments are always happening, they are created in our daily activities and we have the power and sometimes duty to acknowledge them and consciously contribute to make them memorable.
I’ve taken notice of the lack of communication among families, both verbal and nonverbal.

A mother and her infant daughter in a waiting area at an office, the perfect unscheduled time to bond with the baby but mom places a barrier between the both of them- her cell phone. She’s not speaking on the phone, although that too is an unconscious barrier, she’s using the phone as a way to entertain this infant. We create our relationships, they never just happen. A mother creates a bond with her children before they ever meet face to face and there after. Yet this mother unknowingly is allowing the precious moments to pass her by. Smiling, patting, tickling and just bouncing baby on her knee are the teeny measures that lead to the big show tunes such as prom day, graduation day and her daughter’s first day as a mother. Those special occasions will not carry the same sentiments if they aren’t supported by the seemingly insignificant moments leading up to that day.

Dad and son bonding begins with playing cars on the floor, piecing together puzzles in the kitchen, and bath time before tucking him in bed. They effortlessly build trust and admiration that a young boy should hold for his father . If these actions are missing, what would be the foundation for “the talk” that fathers have with their sons? It would be just an empty and awkwardly forced conversation.

Girlfriends relationships are more than the getaways and group photos on Instagram. Their relationships are filled with conversations, big pow wows, disagreements, sitting in on the sofa in front of the TV sipping wine and snacking, just listening to her vent and sharing stories about the kids. If those friends only get together for their annual Girl-cation, those photos have no substance beyond the poses while they were taken.

I say all of this just to bring to your attention that you hold the power to create the mold for how you want a relationship to be. Don’t wait for just the picture perfect opportunity, because each stroke of the brush paints that marvelous picture that you so desire to hang and admire! Be balanced. Be well. C’est la Vie!

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Walk Into Your Greatness

“There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer.” ~Rhonda Byrne

“I’m walking into my greatness” This phrase carries a lot of weight! What does it mean to walk into greatness? Your greatness already exists, waiting for you to get your steps in order and the courage to march up to it…tap it on the shoulder embrace it and dance! You’ve created your ideal greatness, your dream job, the house in neighborhood where you want to live, the children you will have, your mate, those shoes and even your dream vacation! Speak it, seek it and when you reach it- relish in it!  Be well….Be balanced!

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Is It OK for Children to Outsource?

A friend of mine posed a question on social media “Do you allow your child to call adults for a ride, to spend the night, etc?”- there were countless outright NO’s, period. My response was that although my children don’t do this very often, I must have the final say and I am not against a child outsourcing help from a responsible trustworthy adult. As a child, I recall family members offering to take me here and there, do this and that or just call when I needed them (especially following the passing of my father). But when a time came that I wanted to attend a concert, I told my mother that I planned to call an older cousin who made an offer for such, and her response was not to bother anyone. As time moved on, I began to believe that asking for a ride or to visit a cousin was unfavorable. But in fact, later in life I see that it distanced me from family and friends and made me feel as though I had to depend on my single mother for everything or I’d do without so not to bug an adult. As a result I believed that everything should fall on me when I too became a parent. I wonder if this is a cultural issue? Many white suburban moms have play dates/kid swap, carpool and the children don’t hesitate to ask can they catch a ride to the party with such and such’s parents, have dinner over a friend’s or go away for the weekend with their aunts and uncles. As I began to notice that African American moms (urban and suburban) seem to feel they have something to prove, like we’re super moms, or in the back of our heads believe we can’t trust ANYONE with our precious child (remember in the beginning I mentioned responsible trustworthy adults), but it leaves us worn out, spread thin and stressed- which leads to health issues such as hypertension and migraines. This was also my truth as well as African American women from urban to suburban as well as low to high income. I have great friends who would offer to take a little off of my plate and I’d refuse. By me working every weekend, my children suffered or missed out on events because of my need to do everything. That changed one when day my daughter called her godmother for money- for shoes, I think. I was embarrassed, I’m her provider, this makes us look “poor” and I didn’t want my friend to feel uncomfortable about the call “begging” for money. My thought was changed when her godmother explained to me- “I am her godmother she can call and ask for things or favors; if I can give or do it, I will…if not I’ll say no”. Guess what? That made total sense! I was also upset that my daughter bypassed me and went straight to her godmother, I’d like to have the final say (although I’d never approve of her asking for money), but that situation brought me to realize that it’s ok for us and our children to outsource for a little helping hand, it takes a village to raise a child and to keep a sister’s head on straight! Go on and ask for help, it’s ok for your sister, friend or auntie to be a little inconvenienced if you’re really in need- that’s what true friends and real family are for! Offer help- you never know when your friend really needs support but is ashamed to ask! Be well…Be balanced!

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Travel Johnny on the Spot!

The days of “Pee Pee Anxiety” during those long roads trip are a thing of the past! I came across a gem, “Travel John“, which is friendly to the female anatomy! Yes! A messy-free-portable-pee-bag that ladies can use without a hassle! I recently put this baby to the test and I give it a thumbs up! This johnny on the spot was right on time! I pulled over on the side of the road and climbed into the back seat of my jeep (ha ha ha), the bag has a cup that fits snugly to the veejayjay which leaves no room for any leaks (holds 28 fluid ounces), 30 seconds after a deposit the liquid turns into a solid gel! Awesome! I purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond and am definitely getting more to keep handy in my console for any late night outings, road trips and as alternative to germy port-a-potties.

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Scheduling Q/T For Family

image Continue reading “Scheduling Q/T For Family”

Avoiding Valentine’s Day Anxiety

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“I am not defined by what you do to me or for me…I am phenomenal because I am!” ~Angel

Valentine’s Day historically has been a day that couples use to express their affection for one another. But where does that leave the happily content singles, the hopeless romantics patiently awaiting the arrival of Mr. or Mrs. Right or the puppy love hungry teens who have been subliminally taught that if no one is woo’ing you, you should stay home and boo hoo hoo (as movies may suggest)? I was once the teen in class wishing for a “candygram” and the young lady in a relationship believing that gifts were a symbol of affection and my worth. Honestly, even being on the receiving end of the candy and flowers, they didn’t make me feel any better about myself and not receiving didn’t make me feel bad. My perception of what should be and lack of self value is what dampened my mood. This may sound so simple that you’re going to feel silly that you didn’t think of this yourself- love all up on YOU! Yes YOU- fresh out of a relationship, YOU in a long term relationship but your honey ain’t got no money, YOU who when flowers are sent to the j-o-b for your coworker, you may feel the sting of woe-is-me! Like, why would you give so much power to one day or what a person does, doesn’t do or say, duh!? Try theses tips and take control of your emotions!
Start now with daily affirmations: “I am not defined by dating”I am powerful and loving and I have nothing to fear” “I love me and I am love”– speak these aloud while smiling (yes, smiling releases powerful endorphins that improve your mood).
•Treat yourself to lunch
•Eat off the good dishes
•Dress up and slay your face
•Light a candle and soak in a  fragrant bubble filled tub
•Compliment someone (making someone else feel good will make you feel good too)
•Host a “Happy Singles” cocktail hour
•Swap small gifts or candy pollyanna style (include the nice quiet guy in the office- who knows- you may match a couple!)

All of these tricks work, after all no one can treat YOU better than YOU. Don’t quit those affirmations on the 15th, continue them everyday, add some more and when a moment comes that may test your sense of self love you will be well armored! Be balanced and be well! C’est la vie!

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the “B” of ACV

imageimageimageThe human body is a miracle. It renews itself, it heals itself and when we care for our bodies with exercise, rest and a healthy diet, we are usually rewarded with lots of energy and a good looking exterior! ~Angel

I want to share the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar! The process of making organic apple cider vinegar is similar to how wine is made- “vinegar” in French actually means “sour wine”. Apple cider vinegar is made by the fermentation of apples, adding yeast and bacteria. The outcome is a murky caramel brown colored multi-purpose remedy in a bottle! This very pungent and sour liquid contains amino acids and antioxidants that is very useful when taken no more than 2 tablespoons a day (over usage can throw off our body’s natural ph and even result in yeast infections, feel free to consult your physician)! It has been proven that a daily dose of ACV can boost your immune system which can prevent and fight off colds and allergies, along with a sensible diet it will kick start your metabolism which can result in weight loss, ACV can reduce blood sugar levels related to diabetes, it’s uses also include being an antiseptic which is great on cuts, smelly feet, dandruff treatment and even repel bugs from biting at us, our pets and even our garden. I felt compelled to include that ACV works as an insect repellent because of the fear of mosquitoes transmitting the West Nile Virus and the Zika Virus, if a few sprays or a couple of tablespoons can prevent contracting these viruses, all the better!

Here are a few recipes that I find helpful and may greatly benefit your body. I recommend using organic acv with “the mother”, which are strands of helpful enzymes, Braggs and Heinz are 2 brands I’ve used.

ACV “cocktail” (little to no after taste)
2 tablespoons of ACV
2 tablespoons of raw organic honey
½ cup pineapple or orange juice

ACV “shot”
2 tablespoons of ACV
2 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice
a dash of cayenne pepper

Although simply ingesting ACV will repel insects, here’s a topical spray recipe great to use on yourself, pets and plants (avoid your eyes), don’t worry about the ACV odor, the citronella will linger as the vinegar quickly evaporates:

BUG SPRAY
in a spray bottle combine:
⅓ cup witch hazel
⅓ cup ACV
5-6 drops citronella oil

shake before each use
reapply every 1-3 hours

ANTI DANDRUFF TREATMENT
in a spray bottle combine:
¼ cup ACV
1 cup distilled water
½ teaspoon olive oil
5 drops tea tree oil
juice from ½ of lemon

shake well spray on hair
part hair and spray on scalp
leave on for 20 minutes and shampoo
you will be left with shiny hair and a clean scalp

If you have a special use for ACV please share in the comments and if any of these recipes peaks your interest please share! Be well!

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C’est la Vie

In loving memory of my two sons: Mark and Matthew Morgan

Sometimes it takes a traumatic experience to realize how precious the gift of life is. I was always a gracious person, thankful to God for my blessings. I never doubted that I could achieve whatever I set my mind to do- great things seemed to happen to me and I was appreciative of those things. I’m not saying that I never endured trying moments, but overall, I had everything I needed and most of what I wanted, which wasn’t much. As a teenager, I earned money by braiding hair to purchase extra things I desired outside of what my mother could provide. Sometimes my sister and I would swap clothes to beef up our wardrobe. Life was good!

Circumstances forced me to take on adult responsibilities faster than I would want for my children. I was leasing my own apartment at the age of 20, and by the age of 25, I was an entrepreneur, homeowner, a wife and a mother. Life was moving fast and I was going with the flow! It seemed as though things were just falling into place without much effort. Looking back now, although I enjoyed how things were going, I didn’t feel like I had full control of the direction of my life, more like I was going through the motions of how I thought my life was supposed to be based on my perception of the “American Dream”. After dating my first serious boyfriend for 3 years, I assumed that an engagement and marriage should follow. I worked in a salon, so the next step should be to open one of my own. I was married for a couple years so hey, let’s a baby! These things came to pass without toil or struggle. As I stated, I enjoyed being on the receiving end of God’s favor, yet I hadn’t put much forethought into my life.

Five years into my marriage, I was slapped in the face with a huge dose of “life ain’t peachy all the time”. Our relationship, similar to most, had it’s challenges and I pretty much rolled with the punches or grinned and beared it because that’s what I thought was expected of me. Consequently, this particular situation being the humdinger that it was, shook my world and changed my whole outlook on my life’s direction. I became pregnant with monoamionic twins which is very rare and usually a deadly condition for the unborn fetus. There were numerous anomalies that occurred and I was faced with having to prematurely induce labor. During the next few weeks, I surrendered tearful prayers for divine intervention, but inevitably I delivered Mark and Matthew, on June 5, 2002. Leading up to that moment and for days after, I felt myself sinking into an abyss of guilt and depression. With the support of my friends, family and my love for my then 2 year old daughter, I didn’t stay consumed with sadness.

I made a promise to myself and to God that if I could regain my sanity that I would live and appreciate life not only for myself, but for Mark and Matthew who would never see the light of day, the stars in the night, hear the ocean crash against the shore or even sing a melody or dance to a song. I decided that I would live for them as well as myself, with purpose and passion. Every glorious moment, the warmth of the sun, a tight hug, a scenic car ride, salty tears, belly aching laughter- I appreciate because there are so many who never had the opportunity to experience them. I gained courage to leave a marriage that was not emotionally fulfilling, instead it had grown to be mentally draining. I’ve found joy in travel and simple peace of mind in my own space. I became acquainted with myself, my likes, dislikes, fears and motivations. So when I say that I made a promise to live, I mean it not only in its literal sense in regards to how my sons never breathed air nor saw the light of day , but also for those who are afraid to break free from a circumstance that may be hindering them from encountering and acknowledging the joys of life defined by them and not by others…. C’est la vie (this is life), live it!

Please donate to the March of Dimes, they work to prevent premature births, end birth defects and promote healthy pregnancies and babies through research and programs.

twins in God’s hands photo credit: Abdul

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