Today my baby boy turned 11 years old. The number 11 has always been my lucky number. When I drove up to my shop, the first time, I should have known that I would be there for a long time… When the address was 1111 East Landstreet.

Insert column left my sweet baby Jacoby in his eleventh year. Jacoby is my strong-willed child. Out of the three, he got all of that. God gave every one of us free will, but my goodness, Jacoby cherishes that gift more than the other two combined. With my other two kids, they have always pretty much fell in line without much of a fuss. But with this kid – you tell him about his clothes, his free time, what he reads – anything that he feels that he should have complete control of – he will fight back like a caged opossum.

I am learning, that I don’t have to force him to what I want, but I also don’t have to give in to his tantrums or demands. So, this year, he wears sports shorts and t-shirts to school. I am of the belief you dress for school and church. I am now mentally prepping him for middle school, and what I expect him to wear. But we scroll pinterest and find things that he believes would be good for him, also.

I am listening to him FaceTime his grandparents right now for his birthday wishes. He sounds like a politician or a reporter, telling about his day. Very in command. Very confident. Yet he’s only eleven.

And although it’s funny to hear him,  being the parent struggling to guide a strong-willed child to Christ-like maturity – is not so amusing. I have cried more tears than you can imagine. It’s relentless, it’s exhausting. Sometimes, he seems so disrespectful, it’s infuriating. His behavior at times can seem so ridiculously defiant, that it seems hopeless. Like, literally, I said this week “Why did you not sit down when the principal told you to!? Just sit down. It’s two seconds? Where is your want of self preservation?” He replied, My pants were too tight and dug in my belly. Girls don’t have to sit down if they don’t wear shorts under their skirts. Why do I need to sit down, when girls are standing? I wasn’t acting out. I wasn’t being disrespectful. I wasn’t being rude. I wasn’t in anyone’s way. I won’t let someone cause me pain, because they want power. I wasn’t rude, mommy – ask anyone.”

Are you proud or mad? MMMMM. Both. The maelstrom of emotions he can create is all absorbing. And then, last night, I hear this. My sweetie came by after to work to say goodnight. I was finishing a test for school. And I hear laughter and talking upstairs. I walk up, and the two of them are laying in the dark. I ask what is going on. Jacoby says, “Just having some man time. Let me have that.” Bro. Chill. I’m cool. But understand this – at the end of the day – I’m still the boss of you, little boy.

This kid.

I am learning that with this one, I have to give in on some little things. But the big things are non-negotiable, no matter how much he tries to negotiate. But what I have forgotten, is while my self-esteem is taking a bruising, so is his. Beneath that tough I-don’t-care-and-you-can’t-make-me attitude is a seriously wounded heart. It hurts to always be “the difficult one,” “the stubborn one,” the one rejected by classmates for being “too bossy.”  From researching all of this, I learned that “The compliant child typically enjoys higher self-esteem than the strong-willed child. . . . Only 19 percent of compliant teenagers either disliked themselves (17 percent) or felt extreme self-hatred (2 percent). Of the very strong-willed teenagers, 35 percent disliked themselves and 8 percent experienced extreme self-hatred.”

That broke me.

So this year. Is going to be a good year. A year of guidance. Balance. Equality. Duality. And most of all, Kindness. I will be a good momma to my strong willed boy. And be grateful that he is courageous and strong. And teach him when to use it.

I’m so proud of my boy.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I’m back to blonde! And I am loving it!

Don’t get me wrong, being a ‘My Little Pony’ was a good time, but blonde is my go to. I feel like myself. And…. I can wear any color I want to and I don’t have to worry about clashing with my hair! Yep. That was an actual problem.

Oh! I hope you guys had a wonderful Valentine’s day! I did! I had such a good time! My sweetie got me a gorgeous outfit and heels – LOVED IT! And my babies got my flowers and chocolate covered strawberries. Then we spent the afternoon at Epcot.

Now, I put the word “Narcissistic” in there… did ya see that? Well, obviously I am not narcissistic. But I wanted to point out how freely I see people throwing around that word. So I am going to clarify something. Narcissism is a mental illness. A MENTAL ILLNESS. ILLNESS. And I am gonna be honest, I have dated some doozies in my day. But not a Narcissist. A Narcissist is rare.

So let’s stop using the term “narcissist” as a slur, when it’s a true sickness. It’s rude and disrespectful to those that have it.

And for clarity – narcissists do not try to make amends, do not try to protect feelings, are not caregivers – and are only self consumed. A narcissist can drop you in the blink of an eye – and write you off to never speak to you again. Not try to maintain friendships and working relationships.

So, you lie with dogs – you might get fleas. That doesn’t make them a narcissist anymore than it makes you one. Because often times, we can all look at ourselves in the mirror, and say we made choices that were only for self. Maybe we chose to go on a vacation, rather than a family reunion. Maybe we went to a day spa for mother’s day, rather than going to a nursing home to visit a grandmother. Maybe, we dated a person who was already taken, but we wanted them anyway. Maybe we invested money in stocks, with insider information and didn’t tell anyone close. Does that make you a narcissist? No. It makes you human.

But as humans, we can be so arrogant, that we believe that we are the center of the universe. We see it as “Look what they did to me”… when maybe it should be “Look what I did to…..”. We love to victimize ourselves. Myself included. I can tell you how people have screwed me over, and how right I am. But if we are honest, and real transparent, I don’t want people to see – that I have done wrong things in my life too. Things I am not proud of. But as God forgave me, I now have to forgive those that I felt wrong me. Because, how can I accept forgiveness – and not grant it? Wouldn’t that make me a narcissist?

But luckily, God knows we are human. And God knows our hearts. And God’s grace, well that is a beautiful thing. It covers us all. It covers your name calling – to murderers on death row – and everything in between.

For the past year – I have had the best year of my life. I really have. But to get here, I had to put my foot down back in 2019 and make some decisions. I had to extend grace. I had to pray. I had to work. And for some… I had to let go. I had to forgive. And with that came the biggest blessings of my life. It hasn’t been easy, not a bit. And some days are still hard. But everyday is worth it.

So, I say all that – to say this. I love you all. I am praying for all of you. Every Single One. From haters to fans. I really hope all your hearts heal, and you find happiness – extend grace – and self reflect. I know I have – and my heart is so happy. And I really want that for everyone on this planet!!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

This could go for men also, I suppose. Based upon my gender and my friend groups – I see it with women moreso than men. If the shoe fits, though – Wear it.

Here is what I am talking about. Let’s get down to it. If you are broken up with, don’t be petty. Don’t go after their job. Their kids. Their families. If you have been broken up with – say a prayer of thanks, and move on. Because if that person isn’t with you anymore – they weren’t meant for you. If you cared enough about them to be in a relationship with them in the first place, they can’t be all bad.

I have done things that I am not proud of. Things I don’t want to be judged for. Therefore, I do my best not to judge back. I have been a garbage human in relationships. I have been treated like garbage in relationships. It’s all relative. I guess, I just have the foresight and/or hindsight to see my part in it.

Now, I’m not saying I want to sit in singing circle with my exes and sing “Kumbaya”, but I don’t wish anything bad on anyone of them. The good exes and the bad exes. One of my exes just started dating a new girl. One of my friends sent me a pic and said “Look!” You know what I did? I sent him a text and said “Congrats! I am so happy for you! And she is beautiful!” And why is that? Cause I’m woke? Maybe. But in all honesty – I she is beautiful, and I am so happy for him! I want all my exes to find their special person – because we are all human and worthy of love. I can also look in the mirror, though. Even in the relationships that I really feel like I did no wrong, I have done wrong in others. Am I a bad person? No. Did I make a mistakes? Yes. So I haven’t got a high horse to sit on, and I know deep down my heart is good.

So before you dog out others – look in the mirror. Think about the mistakes of your past. The ones you think you got by with. Would you want your parents to know? Your grandma? Your church? Your job? Because let me tell you something else – we often want to tell others people’s dirt to hurt them. What you don’t realize is this – it actually sets them free. I remember hearing a sermon one time, and going to my mom. I was heartbroken. Like any other teenager, I had lied to my mom over things, and I love her. And I wanted to apologize and tell her the truth. I was crying and told her that I had some things to tell her. And before I could even get a word out, she said to me, “Stop. I forgive you. Right now I forgive you for it all. I don’t want a roll call of it though, it will just upset me. Some things I might know, I might not. But you are forgiven, so just keep it to yourself.” She kissed me and walked on. I talked to my dad about it, because my mom had confused the bejeesus out of me. And daddy said, “If you forced her to hear it, you were doing it to ease your conscience – not for her. So maybe, your punishment in this is to carry the weight of it and protect her from it.” Well, that hit a cord. I say to say this, when you gossip and you spread either truths or rumors – The ones that you hurt are the unintentional victims. The ones who care about that person and you. And if you think that for one second, that the ones you told aren’t running and talking to everyone else about you – they are. It’s what people do. It’s messy. It’s embarrassing. And it’s shameful. And while you are out to ruin them – you really are shining a spotlight on yourself. You also lose credibility and trustworthiness. Because if they will talk about others and spread their business – they will talk about you. Word gets around – and no one will ever hire someone who creates drama. Remember that.

God teaches us forgiveness. And those that sit and speak of God’s love, but will then run and trash talk another human out of their own personal choices, well – It’s sad. So think more of yourself. Of each other. Hold your head up – and quit being a victim. Own your life choices, and carry on. I know I have. And I am so happy and grateful for it.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I am going to be real transparent here.  I have never “unfriended” anyone.  I have blocked them. Of those I have blocked, I only personally knew five of them.  When I get super weird requests, inappropriate messages, etc. – that equals a block.  The only people I have blocked that I have known, were toxic to me in one way or another.  Not saying they are all bad people, because to be honest, they aren’t.  Three of the five, mentally put me in a dark spot.  Not of their fault – just of that time in my life. Two of the five?  Yeah, kinda garbage in my opinion.

You know why I titled this I wish it was Nov. 16, 2009? Because it was Nov. 17, 2009 – when the word “unfriend” was added to the New Oxford American Dictionary. Unfriend is a sad word. To me, anyways.

That being said, I have been unfriended – and I was unfriended recently.  The second I realized it, I reached out.  I am never confrontational or opinionated on social media, to be honest I am quite vanilla.  So when I saw that I was unfriended, I was concerned.  I never want to hurt anyone, and if I do, I want to apologize.  So, I reached out.   

I sent a message letting her know I noticed and asking if I had done something to upset her.  What I received back was a “No, I just have unfriended people that I haven’t talked to in awhile.”   Whether that is true or not, is between her and Jesus.   But, I did the right thing for me.  And now I move on.

Here is why I am writing this.  I am sensitive. But the last “unfriending” I went through, made me think. First, my feelings were hurt. We wouldn’t walk up to someone we know and just slap them, right? When I realized I was unfriended, it stung.  Then I thought about it again.  All relationships evolve.  Some grow into beautiful and lasting connections, some end.  This one ended.  I trust that it evolved into what it was meant to be. She was right, we hadn’t talked in a while.  Why?  Because as we say in Tennessee, “I have nothing against her, I just don’t have anything to say to her.”  I wish her well.  I hope she has a lifetime of happiness and success. 

And that was just my personal example. I am sure you all have yours, too.  If you really think about it, you can get unfriended for a million reasons. We live in a society where people throw other people away for something so small. Many people also feel powerful on social media.  You know, the keyboard warriors. Keyboard courage allows us to behave in ways we would never behave to people’s faces. Can you imagine going up to someone and telling them you do not want to see their guinea pig photos anymore so you are not going to be their friend anymore? Sounds hilarious when you think about it.

And to close this out, I advise you all – be politely discreet.  I hide nothing, but I also don’t broadcast everything.  My personal and familial relationships matter more to me than anything.  So I keep a hedge of protection around those things.  I do this, so this garbage doesn’t get into my home.  Social media is a great tool, use it as a tool.   

And if you haven’t read  The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, I strongly suggest you do.  One of the four agreements is :

“Don’t take things personally. “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

Don Miguel Ruiz

So chin up buttercup, and keep being the awesome person you are.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

So, I’m good. I got more than a few emails, asking if I was okay because I hadn’t posted. I AM SO SORRY THAT I HAVEN’T POSTED ANYTHING! I am here. And I am good. To be honest, after my last post, I sat back and enjoyed the break. It was super cool the way Christmas and New Year’s fell, so I had some extra long weekends. And I took advantage of that!

My Christmas was fun! We opened presents super early in the morning – and I don’t know if I was more excited or the kids! LOL! But it seemed that everyone had a great time and was super grateful. The gratitude makes my heart swell with pride in my kiddos. I got a treadmill for Christmas – and I was so surprised and excited! I love to walk/run – but I don’t like going alone at night – and I leave too early to go out in the mornings. I have become totally addicted to this thing.

For New Years? Well, ya girl went to sleep. I woke up at 11:57 – Kissed in the New Year – 12:02 – back to sleep. Exciting, I know. New Year’s I took down all the Christmas Decor – and basked in the cleanliness of my house. I love to decorate for Christmas – and I also love to take it down and get my home back to normal.

Since then, to be honest, I didn’t even think about posting. There has been so much crazy stuff going on! I am not getting political – that isn’t my vibe – we all know that it’s been a lot these past couple of weeks. I felt that anything that I posted or said, could be considered bad timing. So, I stayed quiet. That being said, I enjoyed my weekends, and enjoyed my work. I had some super fun dates with my sweetie. OH! And I got my hair done again!! My hair is life right now. I wanted to do something fun again before it is summer – because fun colors come out so easily – so Michelle gave me my dream hair!

So, now you are caught up on me.

What have you guys been up to? I pray that you all are hanging in there, and that everyone is staying safe and healthy.

And if i can give you a piece of advice to close this up. Be kind to each other. Connect with your people. Send your friends an uplifting text. Kiss your significant other. Kiss them for real. Don’t take them for granted. Next time you see them – Just lay one em! Let them know how appreciative you are of them.

Remember, none of us are perfect. You know, how you feel like deep down you are a hot mess? Everyone else feels that way, too. At least at some point. So build each other up today, and everyday. But especially your kids and your s/o’s, make sure you don’t take them for granted. Make them feel special and loved. That has been the biggest game changer for me. I always feel like a priority – and therefore I want to make him a priority. And then, well – it becomes a beautiful cycle, rather than a vicious cycle.

I love you all! Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

Everyone is talking about how terrible this year was. And I will say, there were times my heart felt like it would fall out of my chest. Times where I couldn’t stop tears from flowing. And times where I felt like I was failing every time I turned around.

On the other hand, there has been some amazing things that have happened in 2020. AMAZING. So I decided that instead of discussing the negatives, I am going to write what I accomplished and learned in 2020, and maybe you can do the same.

  1. In 2020, I read (well listened to, thanks to Audible) 28 books. By doing this, I cut down my tv time a lot, and I learned a great deal!
  2. I have learned that I have to quiet myself, and recognize how magnificent it is to be alive. And be grateful in each individual moment. And when things happen, I know I can go back to the moment I am in, and I am surviving.
  3. I was blessed to be able to stay employed, and able to pay some bills off – and also my Jeep! It was such a great feeling to see that title!!
  4. I learned forgiveness. Forgiveness of myself, and forgiveness of others. Forgiveness is not condoning. Forgiveness is not ignoring the pain you inflicted on yourself or others. Forgiveness is freeing yourself and others, from that pain.
  5. I have learned to play. I have intentional playtime. Whether it’s a day at Disney, or walking through the neighborhood and laughing, I make intentional time to play with my kids and my guy.
  6. I am a very Type A personality. If you aren’t familiar, a type A personality is defined as “A personality which is characterized by a constant feeling of working against the clock and a strong sense of competitiveness. Individuals with a Type A personality generally experience a higher stress level, hate failure and find it difficult to stop working, even when they have achieved their goals.” Guilty. And I want to add to that, have a hard time asking for help. Well, this year – I allowed help from everyone. My kids, my guy, my co-workers. And as much as I love helping them, they were excited to be able to return the favor. I am not a person who needs someone to take care of me. Not the way I am wired. But it is so nice to be comfortable enough to allow someone to help carry the load at times.
  7. I changed my hairstyle. And I am letting it grow. Because I am ready to do so. (Don’t get it twisted, it won’t super long, just not a shaved mohawk.)
  8. I have successfully had a date each week since about June/July. Whether it was a walk around the neighborhood, or a trip to the beach for a day – we made each other a priority.
  9. I went back to school. Full-time. 4 classes. 12 credit hours. GPA? 4.0 – Not to toot my own horn, but “Beep! Beep!”
  10. I learned I love to decorate other people’s spaces – and do it as cheaply as possible. It is so exciting!
  11. I kept my kids alive. LOL! I mean honestly, especially with my little guy – that sometimes seems to be feat.
  12. I learned to vocalize gratitude. It’s good to tell others that you love them, appreciate them, and want to spend time with them.
  13. And then, my actual kids – not just my mad skills of keeping them alive. I am so proud of the people that have become. I am talking about them as people. I am proud of their souls. My oldest is comedic, always joking – and always wanting to make people feel included. Just like his momma, he can get heartbroken easily by folks, but he will try to laugh and act like he’s okay. He is kind, and will help anyone if they need it. Then my daughter. She is a little ball of fire. She is so sweet and kind, and really cares about everyone feeling included and loved, too. She prides herself on her customer service skills – and if I wrote about her and didn’t mention Publix – she might disown me as her mother. She loves her job at Publix, and she is such a hard little worker and talented artist. Then there’s Jacoby. He is forgiving, but he will fight somebody. He gets that from his momma. He is ready to fight – because he is fiercely loyal. And I admire his loyalty. He also speaks his truths. If he thinks you are wrong, he will politely disagree. And he has never met a stranger – this boy has personality for days. So what I am saying, it isn’t “stuff” that they have done, to make me proud. It is their character and personality that makes me proud to call them mine.

So, to me? Twenty/20 was good year. With a lot to be proud of. A lot to feel good about. Sure there was some bad moments, but here we are still breathing. Still here. And the worst moments? Well, they made us so much stronger.

That’s a wrap!

And if you made some mistakes this year? Well, never be a prisoner of your past – it was a lesson. Not a life sentence without parole. And if I wronged you in someway this year? I am sorry. Deeply sorry. And if you wronged me? It’s done, forgotten, and forgiven. I hope you have nothing but success and joy in your life (albeit, I hope we can both have happy lives and not run into me ever again, LOL! I forgive you, but I am not crazy nor a glutton for punishment). I’m Woke, Not Weak.

And if you wanna share this? Please do. It helps me out when a blog is shared. I hope you enjoyed it, It made you smile, and I can’t wait to see your list!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

…. that song, “All I want for Christmas is you…..” really grinds my gears.

I can’t stand that song. I believe that it is on repeat for some reason, here in Florida.

My face when I hear that song.

I love Christmas songs.. serenade me – I love it!! But that one-I could do without. I got my kids so trained, that if it comes on, they all rush to skip it. Do you really only want that guy Mariah? You don’t want a cute set of Pj’s? Maybe some heels? A new lip gloss? Shoot -World Peace? I appreciate the sentiment, but nah. I’m also not a Mariah Carey fan, so there’s that. I like to be able to sing along with my music.

That being said, I was wondering, What is your Favorite Christmas song? Or even better, Christmas Memory?

My favorite Christmas song is “Rejoice with Exceeding Great Joy”. The first time I heard this was at Disney’s Candlelight. If you go to minute 28:27 in the below video – that’s the song. And if that doesn’t you dancing, well then your dancer is broke and you need to reevaluate all your life choices. LOL! I’m kinda kidding.. but I do love it.

On a more traditional note, “O Holy Night.” That one gets me in my feels every time. Or, anything that Dolly Parton sings.

My best Christmas memory? That is one where we got my mom a bathrobe she had really wanted. And my daddy put it in a toolbox, which she also wanted. But when she opened it and saw the robe, she threw it! She was excited! It’s funny – we focus so much as kids on what we want. Now, as an adult – My favorite memory is what someone else got.

Edited to add: Although, I did get a pair of “button over pants” – that were life changing. And it snowed that Christmas Day – and I wore

Anyway, what’s your faves? Drop a song or a memory!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

Here we go. A break from all things political. I am going to write about something I have been asked about – a lot.

Disney.

I live in Orlando. I am a season passholder at Disney. And a lot of folks have asked me what it is like, after Covid. So I am here to tell ya. It is better than you could even imagine.

First, I loved Disney – but I hate crowds. That made my life and Disney love complex. But, my kids always performed in Disney’s Candlelight – so I had to have a season pass to see them perform each time. (Edited: A season pass isn’t required. But they have performed up to three times each before. Which would be six tickets – a season pass is cheaper. And I go all the time since I got it.)

So here you go, a play by play, of the parks after Covid. When you pull in – they scan your band – and off to park. The park you “ever other spot”. This is to ensure social distancing while you get out of your car. And might I just add, this is brilliant. You can get out and have room. Then, they reload the spaces in between, but you are already in the park. So. Stinking. Smart. DISNEY DON’T EVER CHANGE THIS PLEASE!

Next, you walk in and there are two white tents, and people with the scanning thermometers. Quick temp check, and off you go. And I haven’t had a temp, and have walked 100 plus yards in 90 degree heat. I was actually worried it would make me have a temp and I couldn’t get it – but that didn’t happen.

Then you walk through then metal detectors. Once through that, you walk up to the gate, and scan your band again. No fingerprints now. Just scanning the band. I am grateful for that too, because I could never remember which finger I scanned. We have yet to stand in line at the gate. Have literally walked through every step of the way.

Once inside – it is glorious. It’s different. But I like it. No one is on top of you. The waits for rides, are tiny. You can do more than two rides a day, if you choose. The only thing that I found hard, was finding a place to sit and eat or drink. And let me be clear, it isn’t that it was hard, we always found one, it just took a few minutes.

There are a few things that are closed, but none of it affected me, or my good time. I felt safe, it was clean, people were polite, and it was a great experience. The only thing that I think is weird. Is that they require that you leave your masks on with the Disney Photographer. You are over six feet away from them, so I don’t get that – but, go with the flow, right?

We got some amazing food though, some great pics, and the animals in the Animal Kingdom don’t know that there is a pandemic going on. We rode the Safari ride a few times, and saw something new and different each time!

We had amazing food. And amazing fun. Then, we decided to try Universal.

I love Harry Potter. Obviously. So let’s go.

I have been to Universal before. I loved it! This trip thought? It was terrible. You can’t make reservations, so you show up and hope. I wasn’t a fan of Disney having reservations, but it keeps the crowds down – and guarantees your admittance. We wanted to go into Islands of Adventures – but we never made it there. We got there early in the morning, and it was already at capacity. So we went to Universal Studios side.

I have absolutely zero idea how it wasn’t at capacity. I am not sure what their capacity is. And I mean, capacity Pre-Covid. I am not one who panics, etc. But being in there, no less during a pandemic – I was out. In less than an hour. We tried to get a soda. It took 15 minutes, and there was no wait. They guy didn’t know how to use the cash register. Another guy was fixing the soda machine, and then when we got it – it was gross. The employees were less than polite, there was zero spacing on rides, with the exception of two. People were literally standing on top of each other. We rode nothing. We only went into shops to get away from people, and got out free and clear. I only got a couple pics. Here ya go. And that’s from CityWalk. Not even Universal. And you know, if I didn’t take pics – It was seriously bad.

So, wanna go to a park? Disney is the way to go. It’s clean. Hand sanitizer every where. Not crowded. I actually enjoyed it more than Pre-Covid.

Universal? Stay home. Or maybe go during the day during the week? On both all trips, we went on the weekend – but maybe a weekday would be better. But I won’t be back to Universal on the weekend for awhile. We said we would try it one day, and I would take a weekday off – but I am still not excited about it.

To me? Disney won hands down – not even close. I pray that they can bring back some of their employees soon! They are doing so great!

Anyway – if you got any questions… Please ask them! And even if you aren’t comfortable going out much yet, Do some fun things. You deserve it. Get out and live whether it’s dancing in the rain with your sweetie in the backyard, or going to Disney for a day. Do what is comfortable for you – but have fun doing it!

And most importantly –

LOVE FULLY. LIVE FULLY. SHINE ON.

Sat Nam.

Not original, I know.  But for me, 2020 has been that year.  The year to wake up.

Everyone keeps talking about how excited they are for 2020 to be over.  And to be honest, 2020 has been tough.  I agree.  Covid-19, politics, everything in the world got cancelled.  It has not only been annoying and scary – it has been inconvenient and stressful.  Along with a lot more adjectives I could throw in there.

I had plans.  I was going to New York. Chicago.  I was going to see Hamilton.  I also was gonna see Lizzo in concert.  I did none of those things.  

Here is what I did do.

I have had deep and heartfelt conversations. And have become a better person because of it. I have learned forgiveness. For myself and others.

I’ve hung out with the people most important to me. 

I realized that I work with a bunch of folks, who do what it takes to keep our company opened – even when there are companies shutting every time I turn around. I always loved my job, and the folks I worked for – I loved it more after this.

2020 has taught me a lot though.  A lot that I am acting on.  A lot that I am changing.  And a lot that I realize that I am doing just fine with.

There were things that I always wanted to do – but I was lazy.  Things I wanted to do and see around here.  In Orlando.  But, I always had a reason to put it off.  Not now.  No way. No how. 

I have been to Epcot.  Animal Kingdom. Orlando Eye.  I have went on amazing walks.  I have stayed in and watched movies – that I always said I wanted to see. And for transparency, I have watched even more that I didn’t want to see…LOL! But the company made it completely worth it.

 I have danced.  I have laughed. 

I have calmed down. 

I have realized that any problem can be solved through conversation.  I have realized that I love being with my people, and sometimes that can just be sitting together quietly.  Sometimes it’s a walk.

And to be honest, a lot of the stuff that I used to get angry over – just doesn’t matter. 

I am intentional with my time, where I hadn’t been before.  I enrolled in college (got straight A’s, btw).

Listen, there were parts of my life that weren’t working before.  I see that now, and I am fixing it.  I have thought about what I want my life to look like, and I am working to make it that way. 

Hang on, my friends.  74 days left in 2020.  What have you learned this year that’s positive?  That you are gonna carry into 2020?

Wanna see pics from 2020 lessons? Follow me on Instagram @kristiegreenberg

Love Fully.  Live Fully.  Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I am not fashion icon for sure, but I do feel quite kitchy in this felt J.Crew Hat. I got this hat on clearance last year and ended up paying like $2.00 for it. AND IT’S J.CREW! Anyway, a blog that just said, “overnight oats” didn’t seem too interesting to me, so I added some flair. It’s me. I’m the flair. And can i be honest a second? When I got up this morning, I totally did my make up big time – because I am unsure what is going on with my outfit. I have on a vest, a tshirt, a ball skirt, and flip flops.

Well, I’ve been super busy. Working full time, taking a full load of college classes, trying to have a personal life – so blogging hasn’t been at the top of my list. But making things as easy as possible and staying organized? That has definitely been at the top of my list. I am a crunchy, granola, type of chick, so I stumbled upon overnight oats in my pinterest search for a healthy and easy breakfast.

Guys.

This. Is. Life.

This is the mother load. The best thing ever. The easiest thing ever. And all my people like it. I am going to give you the recipe, and you can send me all the undying love that you have to give, because it’s just that good. Remember, I am gluten and dairy free, so if you want the gluten and dairy knock yourself out.

  • 1 cup of Silk Almond Milk Original Unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup of Siggi’s plant based Greek Yogurt Plain
  • 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oats
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tbsp of Honey
  • 1 tbsp of Chia Seeds

Dump in a mason jar, put the lid on it, and stick in the fridge overnight. Breakfast is ready in the morning when you are. Get your favorite toppings, put on top, and Viola! My faves are peanut butter and frozen blueberries, my guys favorite is peanut butter and fresh strawberries. You could do coconut, chocolate chips, trail mix, you name it.

Now, here another great idea with it. Put some local bee pollen in it. I tried to get my guy to drink bee pollen because he has wicked allergies and it helps, but he hated it. Put a tablespoon in there – and he can’t even taste it!

So, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! If you have some favorite toppings, or a different way to make it, let me know. I am always up for fun recipes. And… stay tuned… I am going to have some fun DIY’s coming up, if I ever get a minute… LOL!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. And girl, be brazen.

Forty-three. Shocks me to even say it. I don’t feel it. Not even close to it.

But, I am every minute of it. So, I’ve been busy, and sick – so I haven’t written for a couple weeks. I figured, what a better day to write than my birthday!?!

So where am I at 43? How do I feel? Well, I am stepping into this year feeling loved, cherished, supported, grounded, and grateful. From Covid, to acquaintances, to friendships, to motherhood – this year was tough. It brought me out stronger than ever before.

I learned, that when you trust someone, your truths aren’t scary. I also learned, how forgiving I can be – when given the truth. I have learned that parenting is harder than anyone could think. Also that parenting is the best thing ever.

I learned I love evening walks, holding hands. I learned I love holding hands, actually.

I learned that jokes from my oldest son, are actually the funniest out there. His comedic timing is perfect. And I can’t even stand it.

I also learned, that when your child’s heartbreaks, so does the momma’s.

I learned that my daughter has a huge heart, and feels more than she ever lets on. She is so loving and kind. One day, she will be an amazing momma and wife if she chooses.

I learned that my little boy feels a lot, and hears even more. He expresses sadness through anger. That’s tough to parent, but so much easier when you recognize it.

I learned that parenting takes a village. All good villages have soldiers. I am the Colonel of the village. Try to attack my village, I will cut you. (#kiddingbutIamnot).

This is 43!

I learned I not to take on other people’s issues. I lost a friend this year, I’ve written about it before, and I still don’t know why. I have just decided – it was God protecting me from toxicity. And for that, I choose to be grateful.

I have decided, I will forever be, unapologetic about being me. I will not allow others to critique my hair, my body, my clothes, or frankly – anything else about me. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask and listen. Otherwise, stay in your lane. Unless… You are a some type of fashion icon – then maybe I’ll listen… But probably not. I like what I like.

I have learned how to let someone take care of me. I have learned how to lean on another. I have learned, not everyone will let you down. I have learned, that grown folks talk out differences. I have learned, that no one is perfect, myself included. I have learned, that mistakes can be forgiven, laughter is contagious, and peace is priceless.

So going into my 43rd year. I am happy. I am loved. I am grateful.

And for everyone who made my day so special, I love you all.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

2020.

Twenty – twenty.

I don’t know which way makes a bigger statement. Well, whichever it is – read it that way. This year has been something else – to say the least. But what I want to talk about, is how I lost my happy place. Because I dare bet, if I feel this way, others do too. And sister (or brother), you aren’t alone.

I am talking about my home. Now, I am an essential worker, so during the pandemic – I went to work everyday. I am super grateful for that. I had my job, my paycheck, whole nine. So I didn’t lose my physical home, but I lost what was my place of peace. The place that I go to and relax. The place where I am happy to be. The place, where there is laughter, gratitude, and family. My home made me proud. It was private spot. Very few people have ever came to my home. I revere it. So if you have been in my home, you are special, LOL! But honestly, I wanted my kids to feel loved and protected in their home – and most importantly safe and happy.

My safe place turned into a bunker. An armory. A place to hide. While at home, I saw my kids plans fizzle out the window. A trip to Chicago – dashed. A trip to Austria – gone. Playing with their friends? Nope. Going out to dinner? Shut down. Home didn’t become a safe place of happiness – it became a bunker. Don’t get me wrong, if we are at war, an underground bunker is what we all want, right? I’d be jumping into that sucker before anyone. But during this – when you are starting to be afraid of the outside? That doesn’t seem too homey.

It started out fun, right? Like – no school. Or no “real school”. It was almost like summer started a little early. But then we got into it more. We couldn’t go to the parks. No family weekend fun exploring our city. We became four people – living under one roof – in our own rooms. My youngest two started bickering more and more. My youngest – was sad. He wanted to play with his friends. He wanted to go to school. He wanted to go.

We took for granted running into Starbucks and getting a coffee on Saturday morning. Even that seemed scary and diffiuclt. There were so many unknowns. Memorial Day – happened at home. Fourth of July – happened at home. Birthdays? Yep. You guessed it. Home. Home turned from a safe place to a makeshift jail cell.

Now? Home is school. Home isn’t home in our family’s sense. I want to speak to all the single parents out there, also. Especially the ones with little kids. I am sorry. I hear your struggle. I am praying for you. This is hard enough for me, and I have a support system. My job is amazing. My daughter who is doing virutal school also is 17, so she can help the 10 year old. I have cameras in my house so I can observe. My co -workers understand my plight. I cannot imagine. CANNOT IMAGINE. How scary it would be to have kids virtual learning – and really feeling as if you pick your kids or working. This is a decision that some parents are having to make.

On the flip side, I see a lot of parents being allowed to work from home. Creating learning stations in their homes – complete with laptops, markers, paper. Shoot, it looks like Chip and Joanna designed these learning stations! And these folks are relishing in the opportunity to spend more time at home. Time with their kids. And are ready to do this home school thing. And some of my friends who are seeing this as their new normal, that plan for this to be a lifestyle change – has said that they didn’t appreciate being home before. I think that is the issue for me, I did.

People like to talk about new and exciting things. Positive things. I am one of those people.

We like to talk about how something that was once bad, yes has turned into something beautiful.

We like to talk about the fear, the scariness, but how we have overcome. And now? We can speak positivity into our situation.

Not a smile. A smize.

We like to smile, and see the learning centers, and relish in the small successes in the pandemic.

While these are all amazing things, they can leave some of us, who are still struggling with the messy parts feeling like they’re “ungrateful” or “weak” or “a bad parent” because they can’t handle it as gracefully.

And I see you.

I see those who can’t see the bright-side still, even though they are trying so hard. Some folks came out of this situation better. Some came out a little bitter.

I see all the tears. The sobbing guilt as you leave your kids to fend for themselves because you have to work. The tears of your children who want to just play. I see the tears that you cry in your closet so no one else in your home sees them. I see the tears you cry – because you read the posts that say, “HOW ARE PARENTS SENDING THEIR KIDS TO SCHOOL! THEY ARE SO SELFISH!?” and “WHY WOULD YOU MAKE A KID WEAR A MASK! IF THEY NEED MASKS, THEY SHOULDN’T BE AT SCHOOL!”. I see you cry, because you only want what is best for your family. But every choice you make – you get disapproval from someone.

This is what home schooling has looked like. Crying. While I watch through a camera. Helpless. Not a cute desk. On the end of my bed. Messy as can be. Big Blue Button Crashing. Zoom Crashing. And we were both in tears.

I see the anger. The hair pulling. Teeth clenching. Sitting in your backyard just wanting to run away as far as you can. From everyone. No, not everyone. To a time machine. Forward or backwards. Either one. Because one more minute of this seems too much to bear.

The pandemic is ugly. The injustices are ugly. Getting through this psychotic time does not have to be beautifully poetic. It just doesn’t.

You are strong. You are resilient. You are still going. Don’t let Facebook, society, or anyone – make you feel ashamed or less than because you didn’t maneuver your way through this the way people think you should.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

We all have guilty little pleasures, don’t we? You know what I mean, the things that we like, but we don’t like to admit that we like? Maybe it’s a snack. A tv show. Maybe a habit you have.

Me and My natural eyelashes… sipping on a fountain drink. (BWAHAHAH!)

I’ll tell you – my number one guilty pleasure – true crime. I’m a murderino. A murder junkie. Murder and Cults. That’s my jam. Now, not in the way that I want it to happen, of course. But in a reserach type of way. You can find me at any given time, watching 48 hours. Listening to “My Favorite Murder”, or “True Crime Obsessed”. I even have a “Farmhouse Style” sign that hangs over my bed that says, “Welcome. Let’s talk about Serial Killers and Cults.” LOL! Oooohhhh… and My new favorite? 60 MINUTES: AUSTRALIA EDITION. (And yes dear, I know you just rolled your eyes. LOL!)

Another one of mine? Facebook. Now not in the way of reading updates, per se. But have you ever seen something, then clicked, and the next thing you know – you are on someone’s page who is the “fourth cousin, twice removed” of the original poster? Yes. Guilty. I do it.

So, I thought I’d give you a list of my guilty pleasures, and you can share yours if you’d like – because to be honest, I feel like we can all use something light-hearted right now. This has been the shortest/longest year ever, and it seems like everywere we look there is something new. It’s a sad day when watching True Crime seems uplifting rather than everyday life. I am kidding in a way, but I am kinda not. Anyway, here ya go. Here’s mine.

  • Disney. Animal Kingdom. Epcot.
  • FAKE EYELASHES. I wear fake eyelashes 99 percent of the time. I shamelessly love them.
  • Uber eats. Even when I have groceries. I call it, “I’ll cook tonight, honey.”
  • Watching Netflix documentaries, while doing DIY projects, all day long. Back to Back.
  • Fountain Drinks. Like Soda fountain. From 7-11? Coke Zero. McDonald’s? Diet Coke, or if I’m feeling extra skinny – Sprite, because I love McDonald’s Sprite. It’s Crispy.
  • Hoarders. The show. I know, it’s disgusting. It blows my mind, though.
  • Curling up with a coffee and my phone, when I should be doing chores.
  • My Jeep. Modifying My Jeep. Taking Pics of my Jeep. Does that make me “Mannish”? [ (If you don’t get the reference, refer to the earlier post). Nah, it doesn’t make me mannish-it makes me a girl with a lot of interests. I like that about myself. ]
  • TikTok. I love it.
  • Taking countless selfies until I get the perfect picture.
  • Sunbathing. I love it. I also am a skin care junkie. So therein lies a problem. But I will slather myself in sunscreen – especially my face and chest – and lay out.

And that’s just a few. There’s a lot more. So, what are yours? You know I have read that mental health fall-outs are common in the pandemic. People are fearful, tired, scared, just to name a few. So, I challenge you – get your posse of people together, and find what that guilty pleasure is! I bet you will find that you all will have a few of the same. And who knows, maybe you will find something that brings you a touch of joy, too!

I mean, it is a good time to Treat Yo’self.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

There’s my pretty girl.

I know that this can be a problem for everyone. No one is safe from battling their emotions. I think we all can agree on that. Personally? I am an OCD/Egocentric/Analyzing freak. And that’s putting it lightly. You know what helps me? Facts. Numbers. Math. Science. So, if I am upset about something, I am going to analyze it to death until my pain goes away.

Just Kidding, It doesn’t work that way. I mean, I have a tendency to do all those things, but they don’t help. At all.

What I want you to know, is that one – we are all human. But two, how you handle your feelings is a choice. First of all, what do you do when your negative feelings start bubbling up? Do you cry? Get mad? Want to talk about it? Bottle it up? Fire off an email or text? Do all of those things at the same time? That was my go to. LOL!

I challenge you to do this. When you have negative emotions, start by saying a small prayer. You will see, that through that prayer, you can calm yourself. Mine goes a little something like this, “God, Please help me understand this and respond appropriately. Don’t let me lash out or carry around unwanted or unwarranted resentment. Help me calm down, and speak the kindest way I can.” This grounds me in a way I can’t explain. Maybe it is just knowing that God has my back and is always there, I don’t know. But, it works.

When to Speak Up

Now, there are going to be times when you are going to have to make a decision on your emotions in a split second, ammirite? If you feel unsafe, physically or mentally threatened, or scared for others – go with your gut. Run, Call the cops, slam the door, etc. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, and look crazy later – than end up in a grave. That’s facts. But an email? An angry text? An argument with your boyfriend? Those things can wait a second. Just take a moment. A moment for yourself. It takes a lot more discipline and grace to wait, than fire off.

What happens when you wait? A lot. Clarity. I strongly believe in writing it down. Pen to paper. Get it out. And when the time is right, speak up. Write the email. Mail the letter. Whatever needs to be done. I am not saying to be a doormat. I am saying, just make sure you say what you mean, and mean what you say. I know in the heat of the moment, if I don’t stop myself – I can wield an emotional baseball bat that can take your knees out.

And if you are struggling with feelings of insecurity, self esteem, or other ‘internal emotions’. Sit with those also. Believe it or not, I use to be one of the most insecure people walking the planet. I still have insecurities, but not about myself, per se. I know who I am. I know how I love. I know I work hard. I know I am a good mom. I know I am loved. I am chosen. I am blessed. When you pray about your insecurities, and just ask for help, you might be shocked as to how quickly they begin to resolve. And now? I will sit down directly beside someone who doesn’t like me, and say “Hey Girl.”

Listen, we all have choices. We can choose to deal from a place of sadness and low self-esteem, or a place with divine guidance. I don’t know about you – but this southern girl chooses Jesus everytime. He ain’t let me down yet.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I was called “Man-ish”. It was meant to be insulting. And hurt my feelings. And guess who said it – Another woman.

I was a little shocked by that. I mean, the person who said it has some serious issues, so consider the source, right? But – nonetheless, this is what she thought would be hurtful to me. First, let’s get one thing straight. Can we – as humans – stop with the name calling. It is ridiculous. Luckily, I have amazing people in my life, who build me up everyday. So, her backhanded comment didn’t affect me negatively, it actually made me think. It made me wonder, why would ‘man-ish’ be considered an insult?

If you have seen me, of all the things I am not, is man-ish, in the derogatory way she meant it. I am a girly girl. I wear all the makeup, I love dresses, pink is my favorite color, and lace is a must in my life. That being said, I am a manager of a bodyshop. I love to do wood working. I am a mom of three kiddos, who support them. I also sew, crochet, and am teaching myself to weave. I love my jeep, and doing modifications. I love facials, and spa days. I have short hair and a routine to get it this color that only one woman on the planet can create. (Plug for Michelle definitely inserted here).

So what was meant by Man-ish? I am sure it was the few things in my life that are considered more of a typical “male” role. Which, I don’t even want to address just how problematic that level of thinking is. Problematic, archaic, and ridiculous. I was talking about this with a couple guys at work, and asked them their take. First, they all laughed at me being called “man-ish”.

But, I believe one of the guys nailed it on the head. He said to me, “It’s her anxiety, I bet. I find that the most female on female criticism actually stems from feeling inadequate in an area of life they admire about you. You are the head of the house. It’s only you. You are the breadwinner. The provider for your family. You have given them a great life. Your kids love and adore you. You are involved. You give them freedom to live. She probably wishes she was half that. “

Maybe that’s true, I like to think so, anyway. But my main point is this. Before you hurl insults at someone, make sure it’s them that’s the issue. I am so lucky that my confidence game is strong. I am happy. Completely happy. I love my job. I love my co-workers. I love being a mom. I love my crazy busy life. I love my relationships. Ask anyone who knows me, the last 6 -7 months of my life, have been the best I ever had.

I had some real conversations with those I love. We are a focused team. Same goes at work. Things are clicking. So, I am going to allow my “man-ish” self to be taken out to dinner. And I am going to allow my “man-ish” self, to have the door opened for me while we go. And when I get home? I might pour some concrete and make a super hip stool. (All those really happened, by the way. Literally exactly like that.. LOL! I can post a pic of the stool later.)

So, when you are named called, consider the source. But also, remember how wonderfully made you are. You are valued. You are needed. And pray for the ones who call names. Below. I’ll some pics of my “Man-ish” Self. Doing some “Man-ish” Things.

OH! One more thing, Stay Classy. Hot mess doesn’t look good on anyone.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

I have.

And it’s scary. You can be attacked in so many ways. Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually. Family can attack you. Friends can attack you. People you don’t even know or care to know.

Have you ever been called names?

I have. I have been called everything from fat to a whore. Sometimes the words hurt – sometimes they don’t. The day I got to where ‘name calling’ didn’t affect me, was this. There is a young lady that I have known since she was 5 years old. She is beautiful. Inside and out. And one day, during high school, she came home upset because some girls were being mean to her. (We all know how mean high school girls can be). We were talking on my porch, and she said through tears, “They called me fat!” We both burst out laughing. Why? Because there is nothing fat about this girl. She weighed about 85 lbs soaking wet and was around 5’4″ tall. Now? She might be 110 as a grown woman. But what I saw in that moment was childlike name calling. They called her fat – because they are insecure – about their body. So to them, calling someone fat was the worst insult – because it’s the worst to them.

So from that point on, name calling really hasn’t affected me, unless it was by someone I actually cared about. And that might have happened 10 times in 10 years or so. And five of them were by the same person… LOL! So, If you are called a whore, maybe they aren’t proud of themselves and actions they made, Fat – they have body issues, Ugly – they are insecure about their appearance.

I have my own insecurities, of course. But I what I don’t do, is project them on others. If you are a person who does that – stop and go to therapy. I used to do that, I hope not externally, but I am sure I did internally. I regret that.

Now, people who don’t know me – often say I am “scary and intimidating”. This makes me laugh, because for those who do know me – know that I am private, loyal, and caring. I will go above and beyond for anyone who needs help. I care too much about others at times, which is a reason I don’t let too many people into my life. Only those I trust. Now, you try to mess with my inner circle – don’t feel intimidated. Feel scared. That’s when it will get real.

Have you ever had someone try to force you to lose faith in a person, thinking that they could rock your world?

I have.

In all of my relationships, I create a safe space. With my kids, my family, my friends, all of them. I will never judge you. You can always tell me the truth, and it’s safe. Perfect example is my kids. I remember one day when my middle baby was acting weird in elementary school. She came home from school, and was awkward – but what fourth grader isn’t awkward? So- I didn’t say anything. Then, she came at me in tears, and told me she had messed up at school that day. She had an altercation with another kid on the playground and had spit on her and called her ‘stupid’. She felt guilty and didn’t know what to do. We talked about it, and we came to the conclusion that she should apologize the next day.

Fast forward two hours. Knock at the Door. And for those of you who know me in Fredericksburg – you know who this person was. And I hear this, “Do you know what your daughter did at school today?” I am definitely not thinking about this spitting/stupid thing, because I am a mom with other stuff going on. “What?” And she went off. Like an actual lunatic. Twice in my life I have had to shut the door in someone’s face. Because of crazy. That was the first time. I had to shut the door to protect my child. She didn’t need to hear the ugly that was happening. She just didn’t.

And let me tell you, when you sit in honesty and non-judgement of someone. You sit in the mirror – and choose to love people through their ugly. You will experience freedom and peace like never before. Threats mean nothing. Name-calling, means nothing. Because you work and create an honest environment. When she tried to put my child on blast, but I already knew – I just gazed in shock that she was actually at my home embarrassing herself. Self-righteously not knowing the other side. Believing – that she was right, and everyone else was wrong. And she even called me names. Who does that? Like for real?

Anyway, I say all that to say this one thing. Give grace to people that you love. Give them a safe place to talk and be authentic. Tell them all your ugly – and let them tell you theirs, and sit in non-judgement of that. I am so grateful that I do that with everyone that is involved in my life. Because when you do – it’s beautiful. Now, I am going to give you some basic advice for life.

  1. Make peace with your past, so it doesn’t affect your present or future.
  2. Time makes everything better. What hurts today will probably be less tomorrow.
  3. You aren’t going to know the answers to everything, and that’s okay. You will figure it out when you least expect it.
  4. What other people think about you – is not your concern. Who cares. You know you. That’s what matters. Make sure you are a person that you are proud of.
  5. Don’t compare your lives to other people – and don’t judge them. You have no idea what their journey is about.
  6. Only you can control your happiness. No one else.
  7. Smile. The problems of the world are not all yours to own. And when you smile, it makes people wonder what you have been up to.

I am so happy in my life right now. I feel loved and important. I feel prioritized. My kids are hilarious and hard workers. My parents are the best. I mean, life isn’t easy – it never is, but goodness – life is amazing. I am so grateful for every single aspect of my life.

And what made me write all this? I encountered some crazy, to be honest. And have you ever encountered something so crazy, that you just sit back and breathe a big sigh of relief, that it isn’t your issue? And it makes you reflect, hug, kiss, and say extra gratitude prayers for all those you have? It made me grateful for proper upbringing, the way my family taught me to handle conflict, breeding, and class. It made me thankful for training, also. And for being with people that openly communicate and talk. One day, there is going to be a guide book on this – and I am going to co-author it. Because, we got this down.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I forgot.

I didn’t forget, exactly. But I hadn’t been dreading and doing the countdown. You know, the countdown to the day. It slapped me this morning. Super hard. In the face. I felt guilty.

Nine years ago today I found my husband dead in the bathroom floor. I tried to do CPR. He had been gone awhile. It was fruitless.

I called 9-1-1. They were there so fast. I did everything the operator told me to do. I knew it would be okay. It wasn’t. When the paramedics only worked for 2 minutes, I knew. When he stayed in the floor, I knew. When they didn’t run out the door. I knew. And then a cop, came to me, while sitting on the stairs, and told me officially. I’m pretty sure I just stared blankly at him. Because, I already knew somehow.

I looked up and saw my oldest son, who is now almost 21, holding his baby brother and rocking him. I looked at the pictures on the wall. The grass in the front that needed to be mowed. And I walked outside. My mind went directly to tasking. So, I called my best friends, and told them that Shaun had died. Just like that. I called into work and left a voicemail stating that I wouldn’t be in because my husband had died. And then I sat. For hours.

I remember watching the cars drive by. And thinking. How are they going to the store? My husband died and is laying in the house waiting on the coroner. And that is the day I changed. I completely changed. I might not have known it then. But I did.

That’s the day, I realized that life is fleeting. That is the day, My oldest son became a man, at the ripe old age of twelve. That’s the day, I think I began to learn forgiveness. Because without forgiveness, we wouldn’t have the relationship with God to make it possible to live in this world. Without forgiveness, we wouldn’t be able to move on. Without forgiveness, we would be nothing.

2020 has been wrecked. Shaun is probably laughing in heaven, saying, “I got lucky, guys.” But think about this. There has been so much name calling, hateful speak, sarcastic comments, and ugly actions by so many people – what would it look like if we just were kind to one another. What would it look like if we respected others opinions without name calling? What would it look like?

What would it look like if you took the time to forgive those that hurt you? What would it look like, if you tried to understand the why behind their actions, rather than the action? What would it look like, if you didn’t take everything personally, and realized that albeit we feel the world revolves around us – its a lot better when we are kind.

I don’t think that I mourn the loss of Shaun anymore, exactly. I know he is better off than any of us, and is having the time of his life. I more celebrate him, that mourn him. He would hate mourning, too. He would think it was so extra and irritating. So in that faith, I am not sad about that. I mourn the trauma. The fear. I feel bad for that girl nine years ago. I feel bad for my kids and having to deal with that. No one should endure that. No one. Albeit, I know it happens all the time.

Big things have happened in my life in the past couple of years. I have had friends completely walk out. Some should have, some – well, I still don’t get it. I have been hurt, and I have caused hurt. I have been damaged and I have damaged. So, today – If i have hurt you, I am so sorry. And if you have hurt me, you are forgiven. Life is too short, and it can be taken away in an instant.

And for those of you who want to know, I am so happy in my life right now. Possibly, the happiest I have ever been. And to my fellow widows and widowers, you can get here, too. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t love the person who died, it doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means, that you are living. It means that you have a capacity for love that grows and grows. And for me? It means, to cherish everything. And realize that life is short. Don’t spend it spouting hate, being sad, feeling hurt, or down. Spend it – hugging, kissing, laughing, and doing the things that bring you joy. I didn’t get here overnight, and alot of mistakes were made along the way. But hey, I got here.

I’m not saying life is a cakewalk. I am saying, Life is amazing. Love is amazing. Don’t miss out on the good stuff.

Love fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I don’t know about you, and there is no judgement here, personally I don’t worry about Covid-19 much at all. I wash my hands, use hand sanitizer, don’t touch my face, and limit my contact with others as much as I can. But let’s be honest, whether you are Pro-Quarantine, Pro-Mask, Neutral, believe it’s too much, and want it all normal again – what’s the right thing? I am not talking about the mask debate, glove debate, or anything else. I am just saying, what is now polite?

I deal with customers, and at the beginning of March, my work facility became a “hand shake free zone”. I get it. Honestly, there’s times when I have had to shake someone’s hand and it was all i could do not to gag in their face for some reason or another. I am also from the south, and I never want to make anyone feel bad and use manners. NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS! Do I shake hands? Do I not? Do we just not do that anymore? If someone has a mask, should I put one on? How far away do you stand? I don’t know how to review documents from six feet. I also don’t want to disrespect someone with an actual nervousness by getting to close.

Here in Orange County, where I live the, Mayor enacted a mask order starting tomorrow. So I at least know that I have to wear a mask in the stores. So we are on an equal playing field. But what do we do past that? Shake hands? No?

I want to make sure that everyone I encounter is comfortable. At my job, or anywhere else. If wearing a mask is required, I am a rule follower that way. I hate masks – personally, they freak me out. I feel like I can’t breathe. I take it off a second, then I can breathe. Good to go for ten or so minutes. When I do that, I try to breathe in my shirt.

And can people please stop mask shaming!?!? It’s ridiculous. Let me address a few people here.

1. ANTI-MASKERS– I am an anti-masker. But I will not be a mask shamer. That’s those who choose to make their voices heard through social media by memes, secret photos of people, or completely negative comments about folks wearing masks. (And this is coming from a mask hater). STOP IT. JUST STOP IT. You don’t know what that person has went through, to start off with. If they are more comfortable wearing a mask, how in the world does it affect you? It doesn’t. It isn’t your face. Why are we so obsessed with being mean to other people? Maybe they believe the 180,000 articles and news stories that state that masks help prevent the disease – and really feel like they are protecting you – not just them. And if you think of people walking around – protecting you – it makes me admire those masked folks. And let’s be honest, you could be wearing shorts to short, with orange crocs – and they aren’t making fun of you… I kid. I kid. (sorta)

I can do these masks no problem – I wish SnapChat could make them work in real life!

2. PRO-MASKERS – I get it, this disease is scary. But because you wear a mask – doesn’t make you a better person than someone who doesn’t. Again, the passive aggressive memes, photos, etc. needs to stop. Because just like I said above, you don’t know why someone might not be wearing one. Maybe it’s a medical issue. Maybe they are claustrophobic. Maybe they believe the 180,000 articles that state that masks do nothing for the Corona Virus – and they need to get back to normal in their life, and a mask doesn’t feel normal. For me, an anti-masker – I literally feel like I can’t breathe. And I will be okay for 10-15 minutes. Then randomly – I can’t breathe well. Next up – almost a panic attack. That being said, Now that it is instated that I am required to wear one in public – I will. I will also not be going out as often, because it makes me uncomfortable. When they lift the mask order – I am sure there will be a lot of people who still wear masks. I will be one who chooses not to, if I don’t have to.

3. EVERYONE – I think our nation has been through it this year. 2020 is one for the books for sure. But what I say is such divide. Politics. On race. Gender. Sexuality. And now, masks? Can’t we all just get along. And of all the things to fight over – well, let’s just not fight.

So, what do you think? What’s the best way to be polite, respectful, and still warm and friendly. And how do you do it with acquaintances? Like a parent of one of my kids friends? I don’t really know them, but I don’t want to be rude.

This is hard. So what do you do? And what are you – anti mask or pro?

No shame in my game. I love therapy. Listen- I was widowed at 32 and I am a single mom of three kids. That alone, makes me feel like I need to run screaming to my therapist’s office. That is not what I am writing about, though. This blog isn’t about grief, it isn’t about stress and anxiety, and it isn’t about heartache.

It being Mental Health awareness month, I want to tell you all about my biggest therapy “Aha!” moment. It was finally getting the whole “both/and” thinking. If you can wrap your mind around that, it will change your trajectory of life. What that means, is that two things are capable of being true at the same time. Clear as mud, right? Let me try to make it a little clearer.

Let’s take the most garbage human you know. Think of them. Is your blood boiling? Do you have rage about them? And when you talk to others about them, do you feel like you might explode? I am not gonna name any names, (albeit I would like to post a photo – address – blood type of them right here), but from my own experience – here is what I gather. I want the whole world to think of this person as garbage – truth being? They are garbage TO ME. Also? They are probably pretty decent to other people. Is your mind blown? Yeah. I know. Mine too. That’s just a casual example from my own life. Once again, I ain’t naming any names.

Either/Or to Both/And. Let me give another example. Either I do exactly what my significant other wants me to do today, or he will be upset and our night will be ruined. If you use the both/and mindset, it looks like this. My significant other has some things that are important to him/her and they want me to do it for them. This isn’t an ideal time for me, I have a lot to do, also. I can call them, prioritize, and we can get the most important things done and save the rest for tomorrow.

In this time of quarantine, take time to focus on your mental health. Depression rates are skyrocketing. Domestic abuse is at a high also. Suicide rates have increased. Pay rates have been cut and jobs have been eliminated. In this time of financial fear, I have been able to use my both/and thinking to keep my sanity. I can lose some pay – and still support my family. My company can take a financial loss, and rebound one day. A bad thing and a good thing can be happening at the same time.

If this post doesn’t make sense, my bad. But what I do want is this – kill the stigma and shame behind having mental health issues. You don’t have to keep it together all the time, by yourself. Life can be hard. And you aren’t alone. I still struggle with “all the things” at times. It might be my weight, my hair, my skin, my lips, my emotions, my intelligence, my trust, my fear, my finances, my health. And that was the things from this morning. LOLOL! And yes, I laugh. I laugh because that’s the way I cope sometimes. I laugh.

So, share your mental health story. Reach out and show support.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

First of all, let me make a disclaimer. I am high maintenance – I know this. But in the scheme of things, when it comes to holidays and whatnot – I am not. I’m serious.

I really just wanted a happy day.

Well let me tell you about this weekend. It was trash. Complete and utter trash. It was so trash – that when people asked me how my Mother’s Day was at work? I said, “Tough weekend.” I can’t even lie and do the polite and southern, “I’m fine.” It was anything but fine.

It started out crappy Friday around noon. Homeschooling is wrecking my life. Constant phone calls of he said/she said. My 17 year old and 10 year old live in a state of who can tattle on the other soonest. And it is met with a barrage of phone calls. Anyway, the 10 year old calls – and I am already annoyed at the 14th call of the day. It’s noon – btw.

“Mommy!” he said. “Yes, Jacoby,” I muttered in my most fear inducing, angry, but I am at work and am unable to scream like I would like to do.

“BELLA BROKE HER TOE!”

“Sure she did. Let me talk to her.” He proceeds to put her on the phone. She is calmer than I anticipated, and said told me she thought she did. I told her to tape it together, because she probably just stubbed it – but just in case. And they don’t do anything for broken toes, anyway. We talked about Covid-19 and how we don’t want to go to the doctor during this junk, anyway. I tell her to ice it, take motrin, and call me if it gets worse.

I get home. Her foot looks like the Star Trek hand signal. You know, the “Live Long and Prosper” thing. Girl. That thing was displaced. She doesn’t want to go to the ER, so we make an appointment for urgent care the next day at 8:30 am.

It’s broken. And had to be set. She is in a walking boot. Can we say mom fail? Ugh. I should have taken her the day before. And it kept going downhill from there.

Now, let me give some credit. Bella created the sweetest sign. Got me balloons and some gift cards and candles. She’s so sweet! And my oldest, he got me a gift also, though I don’t know what it is yet – because it got delayed in shipping. It wasn’t the stuff that made it bad. It was mother’s day disappointment.

I psyched myself up with the expectation that because all I wanted from the kids was a clean house, and some time to chill out – that would be what I would get. And everyone would chip in to make it happen, because it’s only one day, right?

Wrong.

No one wanted to do anything. But argue. And cry. And tattle. And cry. And argue. Repeat. OH! Did I say argue? Throw in yelling. Then crying. I actually woke up to screaming. It was great.

You want to know what happened? Hidden expectations. And as hard as I tried to stuff them down in the trenches of my soul – the were spewing everywhere. By Sunday afternoon, they had splattered all over the floor, and suddenly I was in a sad state of self-pity. I felt so self righteousness that everyone should appreciate that I am not greedy, and do the small thing I asked. But – I’m a mommy. It doesn’t work that way. Just because Hallmark called in a holiday, doesn’t mean that kids are going to stop being kids, or that I get permission to not be a parent.

So now what do I do? On my 21st mother’s day – I am setting and adjusting my expectations. Or any other holiday for that matter. I really did want to be spoiled on Mother’s Day. I wanted me-time. I wanted food that I didn’t cook. I wanted peace and quiet. And yes, I did want presents. And I am grateful for them.

On a more heart-felt note: This past year I spent time with a mom who lost her child. I, myself, have struggled fighting lupus and other medical stuff. There are moms out there who are battling for their lives – or even their children’s lives.

Hello freaking perspective: This makes me slow WAY down and realize that when it all comes down to brass tacks – all I really want to do is love and hug and kiss and squeeze those babies that made me a mom. I want to spend time with the people who help me raise them, and love them like their own.

So , maybe I need to keep that healthy perspective in the front of my mind. This way, I will be able to see the true importance, and kiss them all to pieces, and be satisfied with that. No gift, no clean house, no quietness- can make up the fact that these people are my tribe. My posse. My really small gang. And we always gotta work together everyday. Family doesn’t get a vacation because a holiday – nor does parenting. And I am so grateful for these three wild kids running around on this planet. And I wouldn’t trade one second with them for anything.

So, I am not going give you a cute photo of all of us on Mother’s day. Because it didn’t happen. But hey, I got to see Bella’s bones. So that was cool. LOL!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Where my boy moms at?

Guys. I’m praying for you.

As you may already know, I have three beautiful children on this planet. The youngest of which, is Jacoby. Let me tell you about Jacoby. He’s 10. He’s wild. He’s full of energy. And sass. Jacoby is one of the sweetest most loving people I have ever met. And he is definitely the hardest of my three to parent.

Our word of the quarantine is “boundaries”. Why boundaries, you ask? Because this little guy doesn’t know any.

He’s ten, and this little guy will walk into my bedroom like he owns it. He gets grounded from YouTube (yes, I grounded him from YouTube) – and I catch him watching it. I ask him why he was watching it when he knew he was grounded? “Because I was bored.” He is remorseful. He tells the truth when he is wrong. But in the moment – this kid does what he wants to do. And it’s maddening. It’s brutal. It makes me want to pull my hair out from the literal root.

I have yelled. Cried. Screamed. Prayed. Phoned a friend. And did it all again. And again.

I have now enlisted a checklist for him. What his expectations are morning, midday, and evening. We talk about personal space. We talk about earning privileges. We talk about what it means to have to wait. We talk about the law, the speed limit, rules, and why they exist. We talk about being a good human. And, exactly how that looks.

And, he seems to like the structure. Knowing what is expected. I actually took photos of his room – clean – and laminated them. So he can have a visual as to what it means. And I also added three times of exercise. No just playing outside. Intentional exercise.

We talked about him being an adult. Being a father. A husband. How he would have to take care of other people like mommy takes care of him. That you have to understand the biggest gift you can give is your respect and being trustworthy. Then, all things will fall into place.

So, do you struggle with this whole “I am a mom, teacher, breadwinner, care-taker, disciplinarian, and please don’t let my child turn into a felonious nightmare…. ” all while maintaining a good hair style, make-up on , clean house, etc. It can be a lot. But let me tell you – when I kiss that little guy good night, he is worth every single grey hair on my head. I mean, that’s what bleach is for , right?

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

So, I just thought about it – I was asking you all what you were doing, and I didn’t tell you what I am doing! But to be honest, I’ve told about 15 people how to do this that have seen it in my house, and thought you guys might like it, too!

Let me start with saying I rent. And I hated the light fixture in this room. It is the standard builders grade light. But I do all my sewing and crafting in here, so I do need overhead lighting.

Well, my friends, the beautiful chandelier literally cost me $2.00 out of pocket to make. If you had to purchase everything, it would run about $10.00, I believe. I didn’t make this during the pandemic, but I love it!

So, I went to the Dollar Tree, and bought two hula hoops. They have two sizes, so I got one of each. (You could do this one, or five- if it was for a big space!) When I got them home, I spray painted them.

Once the paint was dry, I took the icicle lights and zip tied them to the hula hoops. Once that was done, I literally tied muslin strips, raffia, ribbon scraps, lace ribbon, and some dollar tree flowers I had – to the hula hoops!

I took some of the same raffia, and cut -16″ pieces of twine. I looped the twine around the large and small hoop, so it would hang between it. Then, I mounted it to the ceiling with some tiny little screw hooks. I have a little box that I got from IKEA a million years ago, that has stuff in it to hang artwork with. These little eye hooks were in there – so that is how I hung it.

I did the same with the extension cord. My walls are white, so that’s good for me. But if you had painted walls, just snake your cord across the ceiling, and then mark where the wall begins. You can paint the actual cord itself to make it blend into the wall.

This whole room has a big bohemian vibe feel to it – and it is kinda my sanctuary. Let me know if you want to see the rest of the room, and hear about the “craft room redo” for under $70.00. Also, let me know if you would like some videos and/or blogs of more of my Dollar Tree crafting. But most importantly…..

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I was asked that question the other day, and it caught me off guard. “How do I do what?” And this was her response – “Everything. You do everything. I feel like I deserve an award if I get up before 7. “

And I laughed and laughed. Because, to be honest – how do I do everything? I don’t. I don’t even do half the things. But then, I thought about it – and I am quite productive, when I choose to be. So, I decided to make a guide, to help you out. Or at least, give you some ideas!

Do I have it all together? Of course not. Somedays, I feel like I am hanging by a thread. But, for the most part, I do have some tricks and tips, to help you out, and make your life easier. And these things are great for single parents, kids, teenagers, or anyone who just wants a little more calmness in their life.

To-Do Lists

I make a to-do list every Sunday. Then, I make another one each day. It might be during my lunch break, it might be when I wake up. But, before I leave work for the day – There is one done. On my Sunday one, I have everything that will fill up one sheet of paper. It’s everything that is practical and impractical – for now. So consider it a wishlist/to-do list.

On my Sunday list, for this week, I’ll give you a few examples.

  • Check the PUBLIX Bogo’s for next week and the matchups.
  • Laundry
  • Write a minimum of two blogs.
  • Pack Lunches
  • Go Zip Lining in Costa Rica
  • Make sure Bella has all her stuff for retreat.
  • Update Schedule
  • Read Gabrielle Bernstein’s next book – (it’s not out yet)
  • Dr. Appointment on Thursday

And that’s a tiny little example. It’s a full page. Some things make me laugh, and some things have to get done. Now I picked the ones I did, for example purposes. Once you have it all written down. Fold it up and stick it in your planner. What? You don’t have one? Ok. Get a planner. My fave is the MEL ROBBINS 5 SECOND JOURNAL. It’s my favorite by far. If you decide to adapt my way of planning, it will be yours also.

Next step, GET UP THE NEXT MORNING WHETHER YOU WANT TO OR NOT. DO NOT HIT SNOOZE. GET UP. GET UP. GET UP. And if you do that, you got time to make your daily to-do list. So, let’s pretend you didn’t hit snooze, you are up, and you are making your list. I break my list down into three groups. The first being – 1. The crap I have to do before I go to bed that cannot wait another day list. The second, is the Stuff I would like to get done today, but if I don’t the world won’t end – list. Third is the – Stuff I have to do everyday, but I am forgetful so I make a list, list.

When Mel Robbins took a pic of my card and letter, and put it on her Instagram. Yes, I fangirled. Big time. I love her stuff.

So, for today, I have three things that I have to do on list one. Don’t make a ton of stuff on that one. It will make your life overwhelming. But have discipline, to knock out some of the others, so everything doesn’t end up on list one. My three things are, 1.) Mail my package from poshmark. (If you sell on poshmark you get it, you want to get it out ASAP). 2.) Install lock on refrigerator at work. 3.)Work on Stuff for presentation. I will not go to bed until those are done.

On list two, I have 1.)Get Bella’s stuff she needs for retreat 2.)Write two blogs 3.)Work on adding clothes to my poshmark closet. 4.)Clean the downstairs bathroom. 5.)Write for 15 minutes. 6.) Research new recipes. And there’s a few others, but you get the idea.

ON list three, and don’t laugh – I have memory issues people. But here’s a few. 1. make bed 2. brush teeth 3. pack lunches. 4.start dishwasher if needed. 5. make sure all laundry is in basket. 6. water plants. 7. get the mail, with a few others.

Now, I get up early, so I go to bed around 9:30. I have an alarm set to review my list, at 8 pm. Then, I will have time if needed to get some things done I forgot. Now, If I don’t get all my list two items done, they might carry over on list two for a few days. But, on Thursday – If I don’t have Bella’s items for retreat done, it will hit list one. Because she goes on retreat on Friday.

This helps me plan and task my day. And I go to bed feeling productive, and wake up – not in overwhelm. That’s the way my lists work.

As not to overwhelm you on this, I will stop here for now. Next blog – Groceries and Dinner. And how I kill it. LOLOL!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

I know. I know. It sounds rude, and pessimistic. Well, today I feel a little rude. I’m kidding. I don’t really feel rude, but I do feel anxious. So as I was talking this morning, I figured out why. Thanksgiving is coming. Three days away.

People love holidays. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Valentine’s Day. Those rack up a lot of points when I ask what is everyone’s favorite. And I love decorating for Christmas, and Valentine’s has adorable hearts – and Thanksgiving, well who doesn’t like to be with the ones they love the most, and have a great meal?!?

Let me roll call this for you in my perspective. Valentine’s Day this past year was good. And it was the first one and I am 43. I am not saying the rest were terrible and heart breaking. But this was the first one, that was good. It has been a day in the past where I hoped to feel special, but was let down. Where I tried to make others feel special, and they didn’t care. So, for years, I chose to just scoff at it and not acknowledge it. Lame, but survival mode kids.

Christmas. I still look forward to it. But often times, the desire to give my kids the best Christmas and make sure that they had all their little hearts desire, stressed me out. I felt like they were so good, and didn’t ask for much, I wanted to make their day magical, just like my parents did for me. So, it gave me so much anxiety, but it always worked out. But still, Christmas gives me some pangs of anxiousness.

Thanksgiving. We all want to be with those we love right? Enjoy a great meal? Sure we do! But this year, due to Covid, I won’t get to be with my mom and dad. Not to mention, when you are a split household, there is stuff that goes along with that too. So thanksgiving, isn’t traditional at all. To avoid anxiety? I order it. You heard me right. I order my thanksgiving meal from Publix. Don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious. The kids love it. But for years, It was me and the kids for thanksgiving. That’s a lot of work for 4, especially when the kids are picky. And not to mention, when you are dating someone that has a child also, you have to take their traditions into considerations, their timescales – so guess what – Thanksgiving day might be Cinco De Mayo – you gotta be flexible, even when you want to be selfish.

Maybe it’s one of the reasons I love Halloween. Halloween is just fun. You can celebrate with kids, or without. You can do it with your friends. You can do it alone. Just sit outside with a big bowl of candy. Costumes and candy never let you down!

So right now, I am glad to know, that this time next week, thanksgiving will be done. And I am going to be honest, I don’t need thanksgiving to be thankful. What I need, is exactly what I had yesterday. Yesterday, I was cared for so well, and so sweetly, and for that – I am thankful.

Another pro tip – do something fun. Saturday, I felt frumpy. I hated my hair, and felt the blues – dreading the holiday, missing my parents, etc. So what did I do? I got my hair cut and colored. And I did a blueish -silverish color, that I love. I did something fun. It put a big smile on my face. And to be honest, my kids love it, my fella loves it – what more can you ask for. I love the fact, that my people love me enough, to love me how I am. And you know what feeling good makes you do? Eat better. Exercise more. Put on your make-up in ways that would make the best drag queens envious. Get out there and slay it.

“So, Listen up here’s the story… About a little guy that lived in a blue world..”

So, this Thanksgiving, if you dread it or feel sad, be glad that Friday isn’t Thanksgiving. If you are looking forward to it – cherish it and have a fantastic time! What I am saying, is make the best of each situation, but don’t beat yourself up, if you catch yourself in a struggle. Give yourself some grace, but in turn, give grace to those around you.

Is there a holiday that you love or hate? How do you cope?

Kids, make good choices. Have a great day. And most importantly…

Love Fully. Live Fully. And Shine On.

Sat Nam.