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.

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.

As a relatively new Floridian, I have only been through one hurricane.  And that was Hurricane Matthew.  And for those that are in Central Florida during Matthew, it didn’t seem much more different than a regular summer thunderstorm, it just lasted longer.  So, when the news started talking about Hurricane Irma, I wasn’t scared – I wasn’t nervous – I was just like… “I’m sure it’s not gonna be that bad…”

Well, first of all, I will openly admit when I am wrong.  I WAS WRONG!  I WAS SO WRONG!  COMPLETELY WRONG!  Now, people are gonna ask why I stayed.  Here’s why.  This is my home.  This is where I live and work.  I was never in an evacuation zone, had I been in one – I would have went.  But when I started getting nervous – and feeling like I might should leave, I couldn’t.  I mean, I could have – but that was scarier.  There was a gas shortage.  Traffic for days.  And the thought of getting stuck in a town, during a hurricane, not knowing where to go to – or getting stuck on the side of road stranded and unable to get gas – was much scarier than just staying put. 

And, I want to educate anyone who hasn’t been through something like this – because I didn’t know it until I lived it – but guys, a hurricane is expensive.  So all these people you see going through this – don’t just think about the damage to their homes, there I a lot of money that goes to prepping.  And prep properly.  If you board up your windows, figure about $20.00 per window.  You need 20 sandbags?  Add another $50 to $100.  Now, plan on a week without electricity, water, and having food to eat.  Prepping for a hurricane can cost up to $1000 or more.  Depending on the level of prep – and the size of the family. We aren’t even talking about the clean up, deductibles, time of work because your job is out of power – etc.  This can really, really hurt people’s lives, and knock them so far down on their feet they can’t get back up.  I was blessed in this aspect.  But I see it all around me everyday since.  And it’s so sad.

This hurricane was the absolute scariest thing I have ever been through.  When you have three kids all looking to you for assuredness that everything is gonna be okay, that’s a lot of pressure.  Especially when you are scared yourself, and have to act like you aren’t.  It was at it’s worst in my area from midnight to about 4:30 am.  That is a long time of wind screaming.  Trees bending sideways.  I was sure, that when I went upstairs, there wouldn’t be one.  Water coming in from the floorboards.  And pitch darkness.  It was worse than any horror movie I have ever been in.  And all the while, I had friends texting me – checking to make sure that I was okay. And I was doing the same back.

And then, the sun came up.  And destruction was everywhere.  Shingles littered the ground like French fries in a McDonald’s parking lot.  It resembled a war zone.  People out walking just stunned.  Neighbors I haven’t seen outside before are out and talking.  People are hugging, and asking if you need anything.  When the sun came up – the outpouring of love of my neighbors, my friends, and gratitude came with it.

We were without power for 3 days.  And that was awful.  But not near as awful as the people who still don’t have power.  I never realized how much I depend on electricity.  And here is an FYI also, no electricity – no cell phone towers – signal was blah.  Just trying to call someone was a nightmare.  Our houses are built to be energy efficient!  Which keeps the house warm in the cold months and cool in the warm months – IF YOU HAVE POWER.  If you don’t… your house becomes Satan’s playground.  Your home smells weird, from lack of air circulation.  Your dirty clothes pile up.  You can’t vacuum.  Inside starts looking like a war zone, too.  And then the day that you get glorious power back.  It’s a huge relief.  HUGE. 

So here is what I have learned.  I hate hurricanes.  I never want to ever go camping.  I love electricity.  But most importantly – I am so grateful that God had his hand on me and my family and friends – because he is the one who protected us.  I am so thankful for my amazing work family  and friends – who all texted me throughout the night, just checking on me.  I am so thankful for my friends who did the same.  For everyone who offered me a place to stay when we were powerless.  But I also learned I am a true Floridian.  I love this place.  I love the people.  I love my neighbors.  I am madly in love with the people I have met here.  I have also learned, if they ever call for a hurricane that size again, this girl is out.  But, I will come back – because Orlando is home.