You know what I hate? When people say – “choose happiness”. It’s not that simple, guru. You don’t know what I have went through. You don’t know they pain I have been subjected to. You don’t know my health struggles. So guess what? If I was capable of simply “choosing” happiness – I would do it! Right? I mean, I think I’m right. Am I right?

Of course I am – but I am also completely wrong.

Choosing happiness, doesn’t mean that you won’t have moments of sadness, anger, fear, dread, or embarrassment. I think, that choosing happiness means that you literally acknowledge those moments – and choose to move on from them. You know I am going to give personal examples, right?

I am going to talk about two separate friendships. One male. One female. And for about two to three years, I was close to both of them. Me and the female? Never had a real spat or disagreement. Me and the male? One disagreement, but we both moved on from it. Before the pandemic, I had lost touch with the girl. She literally ghosted. I still to this day don’t know what happened. I know she was going through a lot of personal things in her life, and maybe she chose to focus on that and only that. The guy, made a move during the pandemic. And during the pandemic – my life went into chaos. You all know. Freaking chaos. Not making excuses at all – just stating facts.

So, as far as the female goes – I don’t know, and I probably never will. And I hope all is okay. But there is nothing I can do about it. So, I see pics of us every now and then – and now I choose happiness. I choose to smile, and I am grateful for the fun times and laugher. And every time one pops up, I say a little prayer for her. I believe that she was doing the best she could at the time.

With the guy? It’s a little different. There were things I wanted to tell him, but I couldn’t. Things I wanted to confide, but I wasn’t sure how to. Things I was scared of – so I acted tough. I wasn’t a good friend to him. Not near as good of a friend to him as he was to me, looking back. But I also know, that at that time of my life, I was doing the best I could. I was fighting my own insecurities. My own demons. I am still so grateful for that friendship, though. I called him to apologize once, but no answer. He could have blocked me, his number could have changed, I don’t know. What I do know, is that I choose to look back at our fun moments, and be happy. I choose to pray for him often, and that he becomes brilliantly successful – because he is super talented! And I pray, that if our paths ever cross again, that God gives me the words so he can hear how grateful I actually am to have known him. Because I believe I was doing the best I could at the time.

Now, you may say to yourself, “Self! Those are a lot easier to choose happiness over – You don’t know my struggle, you don’t know what I’ve been through.” You are right. I don’t. And I am not saying that I choose happiness in each situation. I don’t. Not at first. But I get there. I had someone close to me steal from me. They literally stole my money from my account. It caused a big financial issue for me. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I dreamed of beating them about the neck and throat. But… I didn’t. And it took some time, but I am so glad that I am not filled with so much greed or irresponsibility – that I would put myself before others. Or feel like I had to steal to survive. You see, if she would have asked. I would have just given it to her – what I could. And then, I would have looked for help elsewhere. It hurt, yes. But I choose to be happy despite of that. I believe that she was doing the best she could at the time.

I’ve been cheated on. That sucks. Big time. I was big mad. But through therapy – I realized that cheating was a symptom of a bigger problem. We broke up, cause I couldn’t get past it. Now, I look back and smile. And I am actually friends with him and we have seen each other a lot since then. He is married – has two beautiful daughters, and is a great husband and daddy. He has apologized for it – and although that was tough and it hurt, it was his issue – not mine. So I choose to be happy for the fun memories, and happy that he is happy and such a good person to his family! And again, I believe he was doing the best he could at the time.

I found my husband dead. That was tragic. And scary. I mourned. I grieved. But I found happiness. I am happy that he is in heaven. I am happy that I got to bear witness to himself turning his life around. But his death taught me something. Live well today. Forgive, today. Don’t go to bed angry. I think that’s why so many people struggle, because they forget that this is all we have. This life, this moment is the only guarantee we have because tomorrow the doctor may tell us we only have a few weeks to live. Tomorrow, a drunk driver can kill us. Tomorrow, our world could end. But TODAY at this moment, we are alive, and if we really believe that we are going to die, how much better can we live today? We can live so much better. When we really hold onto the truth that life isn’t going to go on forever, we can believe it and savor every moment. I think this is the gift of death. Death can remind us to live well today. When we forget, we struggle. When we forget, we hang onto fears and anxieties, hopes that preclude us from living here and now well. The one thing that is guaranteed is that this life on planet Earth will end. If you knew, that tomorrow could be your last I bet you would behave differently, I know I would.

Again, I am not some saint. I am not some perfect guru. (See Facebook video from a month or so ago, the mimicked Britney 2007). My page is public, feel free to go watch. And no, I haven’t taken it down, because that is part of my story. No need to delete, and it reminds me that I am growing everyday – because I have yet to physically assault the said insult thrower. (Yet, keep praying for me ya’ll, cause I wanna. I wanna hit her hard.) But I am growing everyday. Speaking of that – “Hey girl, you are probably reading this – I appreciate all the hits. It really helps me in search engines. But FYI, posts about my husband who passed away, and my son – should be off limits. Those weren’t a “crazy lady” – those were broken hearted. Girl, choose kindness and quit being a gossip and spreading false info. Grow up – I mean, you are literally an adult – I’m an adult – and you are older than me! Quit making kids uncomfortable. Quit hurting people – because you are hurt. Think of the dangers of your mouth. And remember, you with all of your claims of loving Jesus – You are gonna have to stand before him one day for this. He knows about your gossiping. He knows that you gossip to give yourself an elevated sense of importance, because you feel unheard. He knows what you do, why you do it, what you say with your lips, and what you do with your heart. Don’t ruin your testimony. Find happiness in your day today. Like I am doing. Feel free to send this one to your friends, too. And, I forgive you – albeit I am still angry by it. Feel free to contact me. I am willing to talk. You don’t have to mock my writing looking at insights to my soul. You can ask. This is really who I am. That’s the difference between us. What you see is what you get.

So again kids, be happy. Choose it – even if you feel like you can’t. And if you can’t in that moment – maybe you can in an hour. A day. But one day – choose it. Don’t waste your days with resentment and hatred, we only have a few – and they will never be enough. And be grateful. I am loved. My kids treat me like a princess. My parents are hilarious. I am on a waitlist for a puppy. And my gel main/pedi is still fly, three weeks later.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat Nam.

As we all know – I have been ran through the mud. I have been hurt.  Angered. I have been mocked.  Made fun of.  All by people who really don’t know anything about me. That being said, you all have been supportive as can be. I am grateful for each and everyone of you. So here is an answer to a question I got.

The email read,

“Hey.  I don’t know how you are holding up.  I have watched this going on…  The job. The gossip. The health issues. The kids. How are you holding up – I mean this as a question, not even a “How are you?” (I care how you are, I’m just struggling too- help me!) I’m losing my mind from the past year, myself. Any advice?”

Well first, I am holding up shocking well – now.  Keyword is now.  In an hour, who knows. But right now, I am doing ok. And of course.  I have advice.  Here’s my top ten things you should/shouldn’t do to complicate your life any futher. All written and determined of the past 10 year chaotic journey of my own. Enjoy. LOL!

10. Keep everything in Perspective.

Perspective is underrated. In each moment of our lives, things seem huge, am I right? I’m a widow – and this isn’t even widow talk.  You all saw my crying “Chris Crocker” style video because my feelings got hurt.  People often think that once you know real trauma -you have a gift where other things don’t phase you.  Not true. I might be able to snap out of quicker, but it still hurts.

What gets me through is perspective.  This woman calling me names, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought when I was enduring chemo. I wouldn’t have cared. And guess what? I choose to try my best not to now. It’s perspective.  She was nonexistent to me before, really.  Why care now? It’s perspective.

9. Healthy People take their Health for Granted.

And sometimes, sick people who get healthy-still take their health for granted. So, whether it be physical or mental health – take care of it. And be grateful for it.  For real.  If you smoke stop.  IF you are overweight and sedentary – get healthy.  If you struggle with your mind, get therapy.  Check your heath insurance.  You probably have benefits that you don’t even know about. Take advantage of it and be the best version of you that you can be. If you don’t have health insurance, there are a lot of programs out there to help you.  I know it’s hard.

Let me be honest, If I ate what and how I wanted, and I didn’t exercise, I would be morbidly obese.  For sure.

8. Always Choose Kindness.

I haven’t always chosen kindness.  Sometimes, my words have gotten the best of me.  Sometimes, I have allowed jealousy to enter into my heart with such malice.  Sometimes, I have judged others to make myself feel better. But every single time I have chosen kindness, I have not been disappointed.  Sure, revenge feels good – for a second.  But it doesn’t for the long haul.  So have some good people around you that can be a voice of reason when you are being crazy – and work towards kindness.

7. Confidence is not being well-dressed. Confidence is expressing who you really are.

We all know that my hair is my pride and joy. We all know that my fashion choices maybe a touch out the norm. But I will tell ya this, mohawk and all – I feel like I am living my best self when I am me.  Fake eyelashes and all. I love animal prints – and nontraditional art.   So be yourself. IF you want purple streaks and they make you feel good – get purple streaks. You wanna shave your head, shave your head. Be confident. Confidence looks good on every single person. And if you like your hair in a side part – BY ALL MEANS GET THE SIDE PART! Don’t listen to TikTok!

 6. Allow yourself to be touched.

This is science.  Physical touch can heal.  Like I’m serious.  It really can. Google it.  Physical touch has healing benefits.  It can increase your immune system.  It can lower the blood sugar of people with Diabetes.

There are studies showing that touch signals safety and trust, it soothes. Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress. It activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin.

And think of babies – holding a baby can calm a baby.  It’s physical touch.  If you are single, and don’t have a partner, that’s okay.  It isn’t just a couple thing.  Hug your kids.  Your nieces or nephews.  Your friends.  Or even, schedule a massage.  I’m serious.  It helps.

5. Gossip is Capital – Don’t be involved in that Market.

Again, I have went down that road in my past. Never ends well.  But what I can say is this.  If you have ever confided in me – your secrets are safe. For life.  Even if you hate me now.  Steel trap.  And if we were friends, and don’t talk anymore – still, I got you. Don’t be one of those people who air things that were given in confidence. It is actually gross.

My therapist told me this today – and it’s freaking brilliant.  She said, “When people gossip, their whole purpose to gossiping is create worth within themselves.  When people gossip – they are either experiencing fear, a desire for belonging or inclusion, and a craving for intimacy and a sense of connection.  If someone is gossiping, they are sad people. Looking for someone externally to give them approval.” It makes it a little easier to forgive when you think of the damage they have are feeling internally.  

4.  Address your problems as the arise – and complaining will not fix things.

Problems are like splinters.  Might not seem like a big deal, but ignore it – and you might end up with a full body infection.  Address each issue as they come up. Let me give you a real life “Kristie” example.

At one point in my adult life, I was seriously financially burdened. Medical bills, life, and everything else – was sucking me dry.  I was “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”  Finally, it got to the point to where I couldn’t sleep at night. I literally had to get a grip on my finances.  I needed to see just how poor I was.

Had I not done that, I would not have been able to solve the problem. I would have been a slave to ignoring the mailbox, and feeling like I was going to throw up when I had to pay bills.  Now my finances are top priority. I manage my money so it doesn’t manage me. I can go get the mail without a brown bag to hyperventilate in. It feels good.

And complaining, doesn’t do anyone any good. It doesn’t fix  your finances, it doesn’t fix your mood. This one, I am good at.  When you want to complain, think of the opposite, and choose gratitude.  Turn, “I’m starving” into, “I can’t wait to get to Publix for $5.00 Sushi night!”

Acceptance is the first step to freedom. If you are in denial about your present circumstance, you will be locked in a cycle of misery. Once you accept things as they are and you find that you don’t like what you see, you can take the next step to change things for the better.

3. It’s not all about you.

We are the center of our own worlds, of course. But what if you actually flip that switch for five minutes a day.  Take your kids or partner for example… Instead of “What do I have to do today?”, try “What do we need to do today, and maybe I can help you achieve your goal.”

Pay attention to the actions and behaviors of others in your life. Look at the context clues.  Are they sad? Scared? Being bullied, maybe? It’s normal to be intensely aware as to what is going on in your life, just be mindful, that others are around you also.

2. Love is more than a feeling.  It’s a choice.

Everyone wants to be in love, right? Falling in love is mad easy.  Staying in love – not so easy.  I recommend before entering any relationships – be honest.  Don’t change who you are – because overtime – you will change. I am not the same person now that I was at 20. So, if I “fake it” at 20 – end up married to be someone’s ideal – naturally change as they do – BOOM. Problems. And fun facts, this goes for friendships, too.  For a long time, I wanted to morph to be what I thought people wanted.  I am a people pleaser.  I wanted to fit in. I wanted to be liked.  Now – everyone gets the garbage from jump.  You are welcome. (and I am happier than I have been for it.)

Be honest.  Admit your flaws.  Your hang-ups.  Example? I smoked for years. You think I am gonna hide that from anyone? Nope. Why? It is a struggle for me each day.  So if you see me even consider a cigarette – slap me hard. My best friend smokes. If I asked her for cigarette, she would punch me In the face.  I love her for that.

But with any love, we must choose to be kind, to be loving, let the annoyances pass, be respectful, and supportive.  It isn’t always easy.  But it’s worth it.

1. Don’t ruin your testimony.

Have you ever seen someone face their demons? Let me tell ya, I have twice in my life. And what I have to say, is both times – I had such respect for these two people beforehand, and after – even more.  And both times, I watched both people be brutalized by Christians.  People of my faith. If I didn’t have a strong personal relationship with God – I would definitely never wanted to be part of that religion.

I challenge you to write down on a notepad – every dirty, despicable thing you have done.  Thought.  Every wish of ill will.  Every bad act.  Moments of gluttony.  Times of giving into sin.  Now, I want you to think of everyone you know – and everyone you don’t tuning into a TV channel – where someone reads every, single deed.  No one would be able to hold their heads up.

The reality is that I’ve sinned in just about every area. It pains me to say that, but it’s true. If people hear the Gospel and reject Jesus, that’s one thing. If I’m the barrier to people accepting Christ because of me and my sin, that’s a completely different deal. Fortunately, God’s much bigger than my stupidity.

So I end with this, When does your humanness get in the way of people knowing the hope, forgiveness, and love of Jesus?  Does your life make them curious about Jesus’ love, or does it make them want to run away screaming.

So, I challenge you – if you are a Christian – don’t use prayer as an excuse for inaction.  Don’t sit around and wait for God to do his thing, step out in obedience and faith. And hey, don’t think you are better than others, either. Don’t create some internal rules to differentiate your holiness while you decide others aren’t.

That’s a wrap, Jack.

So there it is.  That’s how I get through.  An amazing support system.  Being supportive.  Love.  Laughter.  Jesus. And Gratiude.

Hope it helps.

Love Fully.  Live Fully.  Shine on. 

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.

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.

A few weeks back, on my personal facebook page, I posted the below :

You wanna know why that’s funny? Cause it’s true. This new year, I have been quieter. Well, this whole holiday season, (see the last blog). But I was still here, reading, and lurking… LOL! And I saw a little bit of everything from folks. From “New Year, Same me” to “Almost time for the gym to get busy” to “Make New Year’s Resolutions- but not about your body!” (I really saw that one, too!) And all of this made me think, about my own take on the new year.

I like it. Is it just another day? Sure. But is it a block of time? It is. I also like the beginning of a football game. I am a huge Baltimore Ravens fan, and there was nothing I used to like anymore, than Ray Lewis coming onto the field and doing his chicken dance. I loved it. And why? Because you knew that the game was about to start. Race on. It’s my starting line.

I am a Virgo. Competitive by nature. So it was no shock to my own self when I realized I was making baby goals in my mind. And some were big and some were small. Then I was thinking about how to achieve them, and then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks.

Last year was a tough year for me – mentally and physically. I realized in late September/early October, there is a difference in being a doormat and standing up for yourself. I am so lucky that I have some amazing people around me – who supported me – and talked me through this – and even encouraged me. Now, although I am not comfortable with it, I am trying to do it more often. It isn’t my nature, you understand – my nature is to be a people pleaser. So often times, I shut up and take it. Just not to make waves.

Sis, that’s just ridiculous. I have learned that you can stand up for yourself without being a raging lunatic. You can say “Stop.” You can say, “I am not going to allow you to speak/treat/talk to me that way.” You can create boundaries. And you can forgive the whole time you are doing it. I am realizing that disagreements, along with standing up for yourself, doesn’t mean the person hates you – or that you are killing a relationship. It just means, you are saying, this doesn’t work for me.

I am not a ‘wave-maker’ now, but I am heard. There’s a difference. I feel like, I have a right to be heard, as do you. And we should be able to express ourselves, exactly like that. I also believe, that if someone is doing something good, we should be supportive, right? As humans, all doing this life thing together, we should be nicer. I literally just said, we should be nicer. Why, oh why, aren’t we nicer!?!?

Well, and there was my answer. In 2020 – and from this point on – I am going to work on being more consciously grateful. Consciously Kind. And also, maintain respect for myself. And if I can do that? Well, I would dare bet – a lot can change, right? And notice, I said that I am going to “work on it.” I might not do it great, I might have days where I fail miserably. But what I do know is this – I can always do a little better than I did they day before.

I put this photo on here, because this was definitely – my favorite day this year.

So, join me on this gratitude journey. Try everyday, to think of a few things that you are thankful for. Big or Small. Then write it down. And here’s the key- don’t make it the same three or four things. Because then it becomes reciting, not feeling and thinking about it. And I am making my own rule here, My top two – will never make the list – and I say that because consider it unspoken. I am thankful for God and my faith, and for my kids.

So, I will start us off.

  • Love. I am grateful for love. Being loved. Loving others.
  • Modern Medicine and Alternative Medicine. When you have some of the health issues, I have had – you learn to appreciate both.
  • Having my best friend. A tell all. Another human to do life with – that gets you without judgement.
  • Coffee. I love coffee. I love the habit of it – the way it starts my day off.

So, big things, little things, and things in between. Tell me, what are you grateful for? Maybe, I am taking something for granted, that I need to appreciate a little more!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Being a parent is tough. Hardest job I have ever done. And my day job is to make people happy who have wrecked cars. Being a momma – much harder.

I am an emotional person. I can be all over the place. Ask those who know me the best. What I consider my worst trait, is my capability to go zero to 100, in a matter of seconds. I am a perfectionist, who likes things done a certain way. I am Southern, so I was raised with manners. And being defiant, makes me wanna lose my mind. You want to know how I have handled lack of any of the above in my kids? I have yelled and grounded – normally in that order.

Now, luckily – my kids are pretty good. I have had no major issues (knock on wood). But one day, a year or so ago, a friend of mine heard my correcting my little guy. He said, “Relax. You are louder than he is, and you are telling him to stop being loud. He probably doesn’t even know what you are saying.” If we are being honest here, I was mad. One, opinion wasn’t asked for. Two, my kids are good and this is why. That being said, I couldn’t ‘unhear’ what he said.

Then it hit me. My heart got broken, long story – so we won’t get into it. But anyway, there I was, broken hearted. It was the type of broken heart, where I couldn’t even cry correctly. Snotty nose, crying hiccups, and really – wailing out loud. I was trying to will myself to shut up. I wanted to pull it together. I couldn’t. And guess what? The next time my little guy started screaming and crying, I remembered what it felt like to be out of control in sadness. And for the first time, I didn’t raise my voice in response.

One of my favorite pics of me and my little guy! He’s the “spirited one” that makes me practice what I am preaching! LOL!

I calmly told him he can cry, I hugged him, and when he pulled it together – we talked. I asked him why he was freaking out. He said because he knew he would be grounded, because he disobeyed. And he was sad. Well, I told him he was right. He would be grounded – because he had to listen. He teared up again, and I told him he could cry if he needed , too. The best way to stop, though? Just obey the rules. He sniffled some. Then he hugged me, and we moved on. I didn’t feel like I was about to have a heart attack, and he seemed a little more understanding.

I practice it a lot more. Sometimes I have to step away before I speak, because I still can get to 100 pretty quick. That hasn’t changed. It’s just the speed that opening my mouth that has. I mean, I love them and want the best for them – so I gotta keep myself in check.

I think it’s hard to remember, that just because they are little – doesn’t mean their emotions aren’t big. You and I might know that what they are going through will pass. They don’t know that yet. And newsflash – it means nothing when we tell them it will. So whether it’s sadness, fear, disobedience, whichever. Let’s work on taking care of these little people’s emotions. Cause this word is hard sometimes – and it doesn’t care about your size.

Love fully. Live fully. Sat nam.

So, next week, my kids go back to school.

And I freaking hate it.

I know, a lot of parents get excited for back to school. They look forward to the structure, the schedule, the whole nine. Not me, though. I really hate it. I felt this way when I was a stay-at-home mom, and also as a full-time working mom.

For me, it seems as if the school years fly by. Once the it’s August, in a blink-it’s Christmas. After Christmas – end of another school year.

One of my kids has graduated. One will be a junior. And my little guy is going to be in fourth grade. Funny enough, the all get along. I am going to miss hearing them laugh. I am going to miss seeing them all pile out of my oldest’s car because they took a trip to Twistee Treat. I am gonna miss the ‘no structure’.

Granted, I do have a hippie vibe, agreed. That being said, I am also quite structured for myself. I like things tidy and orderly. It calms me. But I love the chaos and mess the summer brings. You wanna know how many times there were tears this summer? Maybe 20. Divide that by three kids – that’s a good number. You wanna know how many times there were tears during the school year? Probably 25,134. From over-tired, to not understanding homework, to mommy not understanding homework, kids being mean, my kids being mean – you name it. Tears. I love the peace that the summer brings. The laughing. I love it.

I guess, I am sad over knowing, that soon – way too soon for me – these kids are gonna go. And I am going to be in a house where the only differential between summer and winter is the thermostat. I dread those days, because I love these so much.

Are you excited for back-to-school? Why or why not? And if you got any tips for a momma to feel less sad, and try to act excited – I am up for suggestions!

Love Fully. Live Fully. Sat Nam.

I know, we learned this as little kids. But I am not talking about your standard – “Don’t lie.” I am talking about tell your truth. Yours. The dialogue that runs in your head. What is that truth?

For the past 10 years, I think I have suffered with some type of identity crisis. No seriously, I think I did. Around January – February of this year. Everything seemed jumbled, and then it slowly began to come into focus. I am a big fan of self – help, meditation, prayer, the bible, journaling, all of it. And I used all of these tools for years, but it wasn’t until the past couple of months – that I surrendered.

Surrender, you say? That seems dramatic. Yes. It is dramatic. And here is how. You see above how I said I love the bible? Well, since I was a little kid – I was brought up in church. I knew these verses – I just never thought to actually apply them. Yeah, I know – I am a quick learner.

“ ‘Do not steal. “ ‘Do not lie. “ ‘Do not deceive one another. ” – Leviticus 19:11. An honest witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies. Proverbs 14:5 And well, that’s just a couple.

Now you might be sitting there and saying, “Well, Kristie – I am glad you have gotten your pathological lying in check, but I don’t have that issue. ” Well first of all Karen, that’s not what I am talking about. But second of all – I think we all struggle with this a little more than we think.

I have a therapist. And she is great. Why do I need a therapist? WE ALL NEED A THERAPIST! Now, maybe you have one. Maybe you have a girlfriend, sister, someone else – who steps in as a therapist. Me, personally – I like having the outside perspective. I have girlfriends I can talk to – but guess what? They love me. If I’m mad – they are mad. We are a team. So, I need someone who will say – “Kristie, you are wrong and you are being crazy.” Jan loves doing that.

So. Here is my big lie. And maybe yours, too. It’s only two words – and I used it like a badge of honor. You ready? —– “I’m fine.” ——- That’s it. I always acted like everything was fine. And to be honest, the last ten years of my life – not really fine. There’s been a lot of good, don’t get me wrong, but there’s been a lot of bad. And it’s only been in the past 6 months or so – that I have gotten comfortable with saying what my truth’s are.

I have had some medical bills. I have struggled in silence with those. Well, mostly silence. And finally I had enough. I made a decision. That decision was going to require me to be vulnerable, and tell the truth. I decided to implement Dave Ramsey’s plan to pay off all my bills, rather than just staying afloat, and making everyone else thing everything was perfect. That meant, telling those in my tribe. My friends, my kids, and to be honest, some people I work with. Why did I have to tell them? Because they were going to see a change. I am on a budget – a strict budget – so extracurricular stuff is gone for awhile. I am not being rude, I am not being distant. I am just being broke. But I am choosing broke for now, so I can be great later. That’s my truth. My truth isn’t that everything is fine. Because it isn’t. My truth is that it will be. So guess what I did. I told my friends. My family. My co-workers (that I am close with, anyway). I told them that I was going to start selling stuff that I/we didn’t use. I was going to throw every penny at my bills, and get them paid off ASAP. And guess what?

Every single person was nothing but supportive. Even my kids. Even Jacoby. No one thought any less of me. No one acted like I was some irresponsible 40 something screw-up. And to be honest? Most everyone either then told me about their financial struggles, either present or past. Gave me great ideas, and also said – ‘I’m proud of you. I know it’s scary. You can do it.’ They are right. I can.

Next, and here is a big one – I think especially for women. Let your loved ones know what you need. Just let them know. Jan said to me, ‘One day – You are going to have to actually say what you need. People aren’t mind readers. It isn’t being selfish. It isn’t being weak. There is nothing wrong with telling someone that you aren’t okay with something. Because if they react negatively? Either they can’t do what you ask – so you change your expectation, or you accept it and progress. You shouldn’t suffer and worry in limbo. So, at least then – you can determine where you place that relationship.’

Well, Jan. What if they don’t say what you want them to? What if you want them to love you? Need you? What if you want to be the apple of their eye? You want them to see you as strong? The go-to friend? The best daughter? An amazing girlfriend? The best employee ever? Telling someone what you need – THAT’S WEAK! I said this, not quite so eloquently, to her. She folded her legs up underneath her and shook her head. “I didn’t say it was easy. I said you needed to do it. But if you wanna suffer, hey – go ahead. But this piece of advice isn’t going to change. People aren’t mind readers – as much as we might want them to be.”

So, months later. I did it. (Listen, don’t judge me. I didn’t say I was obedient. Or a quick study.) But I did it. I started talking to those I trust and have relationships with. I told them about my trust issues. I told them about my fears. I told them when I felt ignored. Or not wanted. I told them when I just wanted to be alone. Once I started telling, it got a little easier. And guess what happened? Some of the folks – not all, but some. Started telling me back. And guess what? We are closer than ever. Some, have just listened to what I said. Some, have listened and told me that they couldn’t do what I needed. But guess what. Every scenario was a win. Everyone. Because one, relationships grew. And I was told how to love them better. And even in the situation where I was told that they couldn’t do what I needed? It wasn’t mean. It was just – they couldn’t. I can’t be mad at that, and I now have realistic expectations.

Listen, I still struggle. The act of being vulnerable and admitting you have a heart and feelings – well for me – that sucks. I’d much rather be viewed as the “tough, I don’t care, I’ll fight you then spit in your grave” type person, than the one who is tender hearted and cries by herself at night. I’d much rather be seen as tough, than the girl who is afraid that she will never be loved the way she loves. I’d much rather be seen as distant and cold, than for anyone to know – just how much I would give for those I love, and how I am scared to death that no one will ever love me back that way – and maybe, I don’t deserve it. I’d rather be seen as a bully, than the tenderhearted woman that I actually am.

Because once you see that side of me? The soft side? I feel like you can ruin me. I feel like you can hurt me like no one else can. And when someone has been hurt? Well, like my momma says, ” A burnt child, dreads the fire.” So, I guess – I have been afraid of the fire. Not anymore.

Well, that I lie. I am scared of it. But what scares me more? Missing some amazing opportunities, to self preserve.

So guys. There it is. Tell the freaking truth.

Wish me Luck.

Love fully. Live fully. Sat nam.

Today is my son’s birthday. My oldest. My first. And today, he is no longer a teenager.

Wow. I don’t know how that happened.

It seems like just yesterday, he was playing in the floor, asking for a “Kit Kat Big Kat”. Loving on his momma. Always wanting to crawl up on my lap and watch Blues Clues. Backstory, I lived in Tucson, Arizona when he was born. And we didn’t really know anyone but a few military folks. It was just us. But it was all we needed.

Tariq and I went on a ton of adventures together when we lived in Arizona. We drove to Las Vegas, in a Toyota Echo. We went to San Diego. Although he was only two or three, there was something about him, that made me feel strong. Little did I know how much that would always be true.

We ended up moving to Northern Virginia, and lived there for about 10 years. In that time frame, he went through alot. But that kid never lost his smile. And he was always there for his momma.

When we moved to Florida, he morphed again. He got involved in the choir program. And this kid found his beautiful voice. High school was calm for us. There were no issues. You hear nightmare stories about kids in high school – I have yet to experience it. (I pray I never do.) Now, he is twenty. And I am shook.

You see, this kid wasn’t the football quarter back. He wasn’t the most popular boy in school. He didn’t make a 4.9 GPA and receive a full ride to college. He didn’t do any of that. Let me tell you what he did do.

When his stepdad died, he sat with me and held my hand. And since that day, he has helped raise his brother and sister. From helping with laundry, to fixing lunches, to checking homework (I cannot do this new-fangled math.) But now, it’s different.

Somebody Loves his brother!

Now, my little baby boy is a grown man. This twenty year old man has seen more in his twenty years that many have in a lifetime. His heart is huge. A few months back, maybe more, I was sick as a dog. Puking – whole nine. He sat in the floor with me. When I was having health issues and they were trying to figure out what was wrong, I would wake up at night and he would be laying in the floor beside me. That’s something we do as parents to our kids, I never thought about them doing to us. When I was sad, he would just hug me. Not say a word. Not pry (he knows better, LOL!) – just hug me.

I can come home, and no one is there. Why? He took his brother and sister out to dinner. I get a text, asking permission to take his little brother to the new Marvel movie. AND HE PAYS. This kid works full-time, and is putting himself through college. He is involved in an adult choir, and last year went to Ireland – this upcoming year, Austria. He is smart, hard-working, and loves his family. I might have given birth to this man, but more than once – he has given me life.

When people ask me how I stay so strong? I’ll tell ya. It’s him. He never let’s my crown slip. He treats my like a queen. I love you, Tariq.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On.

Sat nam.

Well, this is gonna be short. I didn’t plan this blog, she just kinda flew out my fingertips. I have had a good day. No major issues. Hiccups. All good. Then, out of nowhere, “WHAM!” I got slammed by a flood of emotions that I didn’t see coming. Long story short – in a previous blog I wrote about the best friend break-up. (You can click the underlined part to read that if you haven’t). Well, some of their social media popped up in my world – and it was like I was stabbed all over again. I guess, I should just feel blessed that I don’t know how you do that. How you just drop someone for literally no reason/no explanation.

Anyway. That sucked. Tears were burning my eyes. I shut my office door. I cried for a second, cause my feelings were re-hurt. And then I did it. I made a phone call. I called and I cried. And guess what !? I wasn’t made fun of, I was listened to, and I ended up laughing at the end. So I say all that, to say this. I am so grateful. In a moment of yucky – I realized that I have so much to be grateful over. And guys, when you are upset, let it out to someone you trust. I started off feeling crazy for being emotional. I ended up receiving understanding and a deeper connection with them? Why? Because I got vulnerable and showed emotion instead of choking it down. So, try it. Let it out.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine On. Sat nam.

It’s worth it. For real.