I’ve learned a lot over the past few years. A lot about myself. A lot about other people. I have learned things that I am capable of, and things other humans are capable of. But the best thing I have learned? Most people – aren’t bad. They might do bad things. But they aren’t bad.

I’ve lost a few friends over the years. And it broke my heart. In so many deep ways. I felt scammed. Taken advantage of. And used. But, once I took myself out of the equation, I can see it differently. In all of the situations – I know my stance. And one thing that I will say about myself, if I am wrong – I own it. Did I do some things wrong? Maybe. But to be honest, I don’t know how I could have done it differently. Did I apologize? Sure did. Over and over.

And my apology was left on deaf ears. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. And, I guess I hurt people sometimes, too. But you know what? I never meant to. And if I say – “I’m sorry”, I mean it. But what I can tell you is this – I valued these people’s friendship enough – To apologize. Because, hurt was never my intention.

Then there was another situation. I found out that a friend was talking bad about me behind my back. Guess what I don’t do? That. If I have something to say, I say it – to the person. Or I don’t say anything. That’s the way I roll. And to be honest, at first? I was seething. But after some processing time – I realized I have talked behind people’s backs before. It was in college. And why? Because one girl was talking about this girl – and I didn’t have the confidence, the fortitude, to stand up for her. And guess what? She called me out. And that day – I learned a hard lesson. Stand up for people or excuse yourself if you don’t agree. Otherwise – be ready to own your own words from your mouth.

At the end of the day, we all make bad choices out of fear. That’s my utter belief. And now, in these crazy times, I feel like it’s easy to get stuck in fear and negativity. So, I am no longer going to focus on fear. I won’t focus on negativity. When it musters up in my soul, and I feel a little ‘soul sad’ – I am going to choose something different that feels a little better. Maybe I am feeling sad over a lost friendship, but I can look in camera roll – and see how loved I am. It’s all about choices.

Today, I mentally closed those doors. I can smile, and know that it was a great time of my life. And if they ever reach out – I can start like it was tomorrow. I refuse to forget years of great times. If there is anything that I know to be true – Life is short. I refuse to waste time focusing on things that aren’t positive.

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.

Brene Brown

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat Nam.

Hi! Been a few weeks, I know. I’ve been busy. Don’t judge me.

Alot has happened. My position at work has shifted. My bestie moved into a new place. My kid went on a weekend trip. And, I went to IKEA. So, it’s a wonder you are getting a post at all. It’s shocking that I am not still in IKEA.

That being said, while I was at IKEA – I experienced panic. True panic. And not for the great deals – or sytlish swedish furniture with their fun names. Nope.

I thought my nine year old was kidnapped. Literally. Scariest 45 seconds of my life. And I’m a widow. And that was scarier.

I asked Jacoby to return the shopping cart to the cart corral, (because we aren’t lazy people who leave carts all over the parking lot. It was literally 10 feet from my jeep. I put the last bag in the car, I get in the car, and I don’t see him. Back out we go.

I yell for him.

Nothing.

I full on scream for him. To the top of my lungs.

Nothing.

He vanished.

I am now walking quickly, and then break into a full on run – yelling for him. And then I hear, “MOMMY?”

This boy, is walking out the front door of the store. He took the cart to the front door. You see, he didn’t see a way to get the cart off the sidewalk. So, while I was arranging the bag in the car, he walked by me to the front door. I never saw him. He returned the cart inside.

He thought I saw him. I thought he was kidnapped by a pedophile rapist. What I am saying is this.

You never know what a day will hold. I had a happy ending. But my goodness – it gave me that “lesson” that your whole life can be turned upside down in an instant.

Panic realized. Panic hated.

My Sweet Boy.

Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.

Saturday night, I went to a choir concert called “Beyond the Dream : A gospel concert celebrating 34 years of Dr. Martin Luther King in Orlando”. Now, My kid was singing in it. And if you know me personally – you know I am not a big fan of choir music. Like, I think it’s beautiful, but let’s be honest – ya girl don’t sing in Latin. So, there’s that. But I go to every concert – show, whatever. Because to me, it’s important to show up for people that you love.

The Aeolilans & Dr. Jeffery Redding.

Any way, this isn’t a parenting post. At this concert, a group called “The Aeolians” Sang. They are a group from Oakwood University in Alabama. But before they sang – the president of Oakwood University spoke – and let’s just say – that man set the tone for the night. He was powerful, well-spoken, and made this white girl think about who Martin Luther King, Jr. really was. Because do we ever really think about who he actually was?

He was a man that was courageous. He was a preacher. He was a dad. He was a husband. He was a rebel. He was outspoken – and at times, he alienated some of the closest people around him. But he was a lot more than the “I have a dream speech”. I am not judging white America here, I am white. But what I am judging is what I was taught. And I was taught this: “He was an African-American preacher, a civil rights activist, and he gave a speech that started with ‘I have a dream’ – then he was shot in Memphis.” Now, that’s kinda sad that’s all I really knew.

Ruby Bridges

Now, there was once a little girl name Ruby Bridges. And she was the cutest little thing that you ever saw. And she wanted to go to school, just like all little kids want to do. Well, she got voted to start going to the desegregated schools. She didn’t ask to be a Civil Rights Activist, she was six. But that little thing went. Now, if you have kids, and are any type of parent, I would definitely fight for my kids to have the best education. The best of anything, because that’s what we want for our kids, right? Well, lemme put it this way. I have three kids. I have an olive complexion. My kids, two are your standard white, one is almost clear… LOL! I can’t imagine what it would be like, for someone not to allow my daughter into school, because she is super pale. We would all agree that would be ludicrous, right? It was the same thing. THE SAME THING. And while a six year old was walking into school, she was called slurs, had grown folk throwing things at her. Adults. Throwing things at a six year old. I can’t wrap my brains around that.

So, at this concert, what I saw was a celebration. A celebration of someone who helped fight for equality along with them. Who gave them courage, when they needed it. And can I just say, I am so grateful for MLK, Ruby Bridges, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Walter Francis White, and all the other civil rights activists. I am grateful for people who aren’t so clouded and jaded by their own inbred beliefs that they can see, that we are all equal. We are all one. Even the bible condems racisim. It’s from God himself.

President of Oakwood University, Dr. Leslie Pollard

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galations 3:28

There’s a lot more. A lot, google it. But, that’s my personal fave. Pretty well covers all bigotry I would say.

But you want to know what I saw? I saw people come together as one. And celebrate. Celebrate freedom. Celebrate Love. Celebrate Unity. Black and white. Young and old. All raised their hands in praise, to God. We hugged. We worshiped. We sang. And we also cried. Cried for what has happened. Cried in gratitude for where we are at. And to be honest, cried because we still have such a long way to go. But, when you have groups like the Aeolians, the Orlando Choral Society, a mayor that invests, and a city who supports – we have hope. And if we have hope, we can change the world. So today, let’s be grateful for how far we have come, and vow not to become complacent. Let’s let our passion, fulfill God’s promise – and love become our armor.

For more information on how you can become involved, go to http://orlandochoralsociety.org .

Love fully. Live fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.

*Disclaimer – this was written almost a month ago.  I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it or not.  But, today – I thought someone could benefit from it.*
I hope this helps someone today.
Too much to get into all the details – but today – I felt unappreciated.  It’s one of those things where it was weighing on my mind and heart.  Where you feel your heart, like are actually aware of the organ in your chest.  Swallowing seemed difficult.  And I felt like the weight of the world on my shoulders and wanted to cry.  
And then,  it hit me.  I am doing what I can.  And I don’t need the outside approval of others to confirm that for myself.  So many people are focused on being  perfect, rich, smartest, best, number one, etc – and I felt like, here I am – trying to make my tribe (and all those related to it) feel  loved and valued.  While trying to productive, perfect, make money, have the best numbers, look pretty, and be noticed and successful. And I don’t feel like anyone cares or appreciates it.  And yes – I just admitted – I care about all the things that I said others focus on.  I am not judging.  I am just saying, I also try to add value and love to those I interact with first.
It hit me.  Stop focusing on feeling bad.  Focus on the fact that you are alive and happy.  Realize that not everyone is always going to behave the way you want them to.  And just because they don’t – doesn’t mean that they don’t care.  It just means – that they might be going through their own stuff.  They might not feel like they need to acknowledge it.  And honestly, why do I expect acknowledgement?  Shouldn’t I be doing it – because I mean it, I love them, and I want the best for them – with no level of expectation back? 
Absolutely.  Sometimes, things can get so overwhelming for me – I feel like I can’t breathe.  I have worn my emotions on my sleeve for years – but one day, I started choking them down.  And just because I choke them down – doesn’t mean that they aren’t there.  They just aren’t seen as visibly to everyone.    So, to everyone who tells me how strong I am – thank you.  But the only real strength I have, is being able to hide my feelings from most people.  
Here is real talk.  I am not that strong.  I am actually pretty weak.  I have basic needs.  I need to be loved.   Valued.  And appreciated.  I get lonely.  I get sad.  I get scared.  I get overwhelmed.  And all of that can happen in under thirty seconds!  Where I feel weaker – is the fact that I struggle with admitting that I am human.  There is a total of about 3 people on this planet who know that part of me.  I am grateful for them – because without them – I’d probably lose my mind.   I don’t admit it often.  But today, I thought – let it rip.  Someone needs to know it’s okay to be human, too.   But while we are being human – let’s extend some grace to our loved ones and let them be human, also. 

Because let’s be honest – our feelings aren’t facts.

Xoxo.

Kristie

First, let me start by saying, I do have a day job.  And – as far as day jobs go – I am very thankful for my job – and the folks I work with.  My teammates are some of my closest friends.  My supervisor, is awesome.  He backs us, helps us – I couldn’t ask for more.  Now, that being said – I was on vacation the week before last – and it was amazing.  My best friend from VA was here – and we had a great time.  A time to decompress, catch up, and relax.  We both have a lot going on in our lives – both moms – jobs – and busy.  So just to sit and enjoy one another was a huge blessing.  I ended that week with a new sense of purpose.  Relaxed.  And a new mindset upon my “day job”.

The week went pretty much like normal, and I was smiling the whole time ( that part not necessarily normal).  But I had decided to be grateful for my job.  My co-workers.  My supervisor.  And when things rose up that would normally stress me out, I took a deep breath, and I was good.  I went through the week feeling amazing.  Until the last day of the work week.

I know it could be risky writing this, but – I feel like I have to.  If I don’t – I am being fake.  And my hair, nails, and tan might be fake – but my heart isn’t.  So I am going to be vague to protect myself.  But just hear what I am saying.

I witnessed corporate bullying.  Not on myself – or my co-workers – so no worries there, but nonetheless.  I saw it.  And I never have seen such a spectacle in my life.  I have never been so shocked – embarrassed and hurt for the people it happened to – the level of empathy I had was out the roof.  And I thought bullying was something that kids did in a school yard.  Not in a workplace.  So I write this, to say this.  If you ever partake of “corporate bullying” – you are no better than a child in a schoolyard.  In every environment that I have ever worked in – people discuss business like people.  Intelligently, calmly, with action plans in place. To me, that seems to be the right way to do it.  Never is public humiliation, or bullying an acceptable plan.  Ever.

So I am writing this, hoping to change one heart.  Just one.  If someone reads this who believes that is a proper form of business – reevaluate.   You will never gain the respect of other people, by public shaming.  Because guess what?  Not one person will be on your side.  Every single person will feel for the person visibly shaking and trying to maintain a businesslike composure.  That is the people who are classy – the ones when provoked – who stood firm.  I don’t know if I could do the same.  To be honest, I am sure I couldn’t.

And if you have experienced bullying as an adult or child – remember – It is not you.  They have something, within themselves, to where that is the only way they feel powerful.  And if you can keep from screaming, feel bad for them.  I wish I could say I feel bad for them – but not yet – I am still mad.

I’m ending this with a video of my vacation – because it was awesome – and remember what relaxing and being thankful is about.  And remember – you never know what someone is going through – use your words carefully.

Tonight, I am feeling kinda somber.  Yesterday – was my grandmother’s 103rd Birthday.  And I know – It is amazing that she has lived to this age.  But to be honest, she isn’t doing good at all.  I spoke to my mom yesterday, she has double pneumonia.  She is bed ridden.  She doesn’t know where she is at – or who is with her.  She sometimes thinks that my mom, is her mom.  She is calling out for her own parents.  She is mostly blind.  It’s just completely sad.

And what makes me feel so sad – is that she has lived.  And it’s okay for her to go.  I am totally at peace with it.  I don’t know if it is that I am hardened, and I worry that I am.  But I honestly feel like she has lived a long life – and she is now only existing.  She isn’t living.  My grandmother, as I know her, has been gone for a little over a year.  This woman, now, isn’t the woman I knew growing up.  My grandmother, would eat chocolate fudge cake and mix it with a peanut butter sandwich.  My grandmother, would go through pictures with me on her couch – and tell me about the things I did when I was little.  My grandmother put up her Christmas tree  way too early – just because she thought it was pretty.  This woman, in the nursing home, is just what is left of who she used to be.

You know, although I thought for awhile I would die myself when Shaun died, I didn’t.  When he died – he was full of life.  He lived every, single, solitary moment – up until he died.  I can’t imagine what my mom is going through – seeing someone she loves – just not there anymore.  I am so thankful I never saw that.  So my heart hurts for her, too.

It will probably be any day – and I pray it’s sooner rather than later.  That makes me feel awful to say – but it’s honest.  She just isn’t who she was.  She has lived – and has a legacy behind her.  I just hope she knows how much we love her – and it’s okay for her to go.  She doesn’t have to live forever, we will be okay.

I am the mom to a fourteen year old boy, and 10 year old girl, and a three year old little boy.  I love my children in many different ways.  My oldest was my first child, he grew up with me in a way.  My daughter came next, and she is like my little mini me.  And then Jacoby, the baby.  The child that I am in complete awe of, everytime I look at him, because I know just how precious he is.  And I know, after having two before him, how fleeting this time is in his life and to appreciate the moments.

But tonight, I am talking about my oldest.   I have never been a fourteen year old boy.  I can’t imagine what that is like.  I have never had divorced parents.  I never lost a parental figure.  I never was a stepchild.  My son, has experienced more in his fourteen years more than I have, in many ways.  And for the most part, he is a well mannered, well spoken young man.  Does he do things that drive me absolutely crazy?  More than you could ever know.  But does he have a good heart? The best.

I am writing this because he has weighed on my heart a lot lately.  I moved him across the country – and he was willing to go.  He started a new school, that is triple in size than the high school that he would have went to, and he went with a smile.  No fear.  His first day of school – he didn’t have a schedule.  He went with a smile.  I have never been as strong as that kid.  He has seen more in his fourteen years than many people in the US see in their lives.  He has experienced more pain, and pain of his family, than I ever came close to.  And he still does it with a smile.

So what I am saying, Is I am thankful.  Thankful for the resilience of a child.  Thankful for all that he has taught me.  Thankful for the trips we have went on together.  The adventures we have had.  And I look forward to the many to come.  I have not been the perfect parent, I wish I had.  I have learned a lot with him – and I know that I am a better parent to Bella because of it, and even better to Jacoby.

To be honest, on June 22, 2011 – Tariq was a little boy.  On June 23, 2013 – he was almost a man.  Overnight he grew up – literally.  And he has never been the same.  I think, at times, I have expected a lot from him, because of how adult he can act.  Which makes me sometimes forget, that he is still a kid. Learning.  Figuring things out.

So this post is for my son.  I love you Tariq.  To the moon and back again – and I know I am not the perfect momma.  But you are most definitely the perfect son.  And God blessed me so much by giving me  you.  I love you baby…. More than you could ever know.  And I just felt like you should know it too!

Tonight my papaw passed away. And to be honest, it makes me feel all weird and conflicted. I didn’t talk to him often – I haven’t lived in the area for 15 years or so. But he was my papaw. My daddy’s dad. My roots. The man who has been my constant in this world – he is the reason he exists. And now he is gone. 

My papaw was a Christian. Is a Christian, I should say. He too, is now in a whole new body. Rejoicing with his bride. Celebrating their reunion. But we are here. Behind. Trying to feel that joy, but feeling sad for ourselves. 
I have cried more than I thought I would. He lived a long life – he buried two wives and two children. He was almost 96. His birthday was next week. We were both are virgos. I just realized that we had that in common. I don’t know why I didn’t know it sooner. That just made me smile. A little bond I just realized existed. A little present from him, I suppose. 
Papaw was always a funny man to me. He was tough. Rugged. Intimidating in a way. He had a loud voice and smelled like chewing tobacco. He always called my daddy, “Son”.  I still think that it still so sweet. 
One of my best memories of being a kid is driving to papaw’s house- just me and daddy. And it seemed like it took forever. You drive down a four lane road. To a two lane. And then one? And then a gravely road. We would park on the gravel road – walk through a field- and then you were there. And daddy would tell me stories about when he was a little boy. And I would sit on that porch- In southwest Virginia – and try to see my daddy being a kid- and papaw being a young man. 
Papaw had hogs. Cats. Dogs. Horses. Cows. And a plethora of all of them. His house was an adventure.  And he would grab any animal and show it to you. No fear. He was something else. 
I know this is rambling. I just wanted to get it all out. And thank God for making Worley Horne my papaw, and making sure he let us know he was a Christian. Thank you papaw. For being you. For giving me the memories that are woven in my mind. For making my daddy such an amazing man. And for being you. I will always love you. I always did- even when miles separated us – heaven will be our meeting place. Ill see you again one day. Kiss everyone for me. 
And, (my family will get this), I am not fat as a toad. I love you papaw. Heart and Soul. 
  • Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”