Dream Like a Child Again: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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I am feeling a little nostalgic this evening. The picture above is from my favorite Tootsie Roll commercial. As I was driving home from my 6 year old’s Curriculum Night at school, an old Frankie Beverly and Maze song came on. The song took me back to 8 tracks, needles on the records, and component sets. A time when the remote was called a clicker, you actually plugged your home phone into a socket in the wall and Morgan Freeman was on Electric Company. A time of block club parties, bookmobiles, swimmobiles and the Bobolo Boat.

I actually got a little teary eyed thinking about how awesome my childhood was. At the same time, I realized that we live in a day and time where many of our own children will not get the pleasure of experiencing this feeling. That realization also made my eyes leak. Playing double dutch, freeze tag, Mother May I?, hide go seek and riding our Huffy or Schwinn bikes until the streetlights came on, were the most important activities in our lives. This song about sums up how I feel right about now (Back in the Day).

So what does the 10 year old Nita from the 313 say to the 39 year old Vanita living in the 734?

  • Do some appropriate kid stuff at least once a month. Your inner child will thank you.
  • Go to Youtube and watch School House Rocks, Great Space Coasters or Kids Incorporated with your children.
  • Go listen to some good soul music from the 70’s and 80’s. My songs of choice are What A Fool Believes by the Doobie Brothers and I Keep Forgettin’ by Michael McDonald. My 19-year-old and 6-year-old love both of these songs.
  • Connect with people you grew up with and go back down memory lane. Your heart, soul and spirit will feel better.
  • Go back in your mind and remember the dreams you had as a child and try to live them out. You just may find your passion and purpose in this.
  • Have a good old school party. Play music, BBQ, play cards, dominoes, let the kids stay up late, talk loud and have FUN!

Lastly, if your old neighborhood no longer looks or feels like it used to. If the laughter of children playing has been replaced by their silence, then it’s time to give back. It Starts at Home is a grassroots organization that is committed to giving back to my old Larchmont (48204) neighborhood. Life Remodeled is a non-profit organization that exists to remodel lives – one neighborhood at a time and they have worked in my old Minock (48228) neighborhood.

Find an organization or create one that will help nurture, sustain and empower the current children who want the opportunity to dream, thrive and play….just like you used to.

What I Know About Marriage by Being Divorced: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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By now you should know that I have been married and divorced twice. Yes, let us all be in prayer that the third time is a charm. I have used those experiences to shape how I move in my love life. Many people will say “oh divorced people can’t give wise advice to married folks” but I think that type of thinking is limited. Divorced people who have done the work (yes, I like to say that phrase in my Inyala voice) can provide wise counsel of what not to do in order to stay happily married. Those of us who have analyzed, replayed and combed through every part of our former marriages can provide great insight into what not to do.

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  1. Choose wisely before you get married. If you there is a significant difference on spirituality, child rearing, and finances it’s going to be harder work than you anticipated.
  2. Apologize immediately. When you are wrong, own it. Apologize and move on. Holding grudges creates undue stress on a relationship.
  3. Keep folks out of your business. If you go telling your mama about your spouse’s bad habits or annoyances guess what will happen? Once you two become cool again mama’nem will still look at your mate with a mean side eye at the holiday BBQ.
  4. Make your potential spouse aware of your non-negotiables in the beginning. There are certain things that we will not negotiate no matter the person. Know your boundaries and make them known before marrying.
  5. Watch your words during disagreements. Don’t bring up old stuff. Now is not the time to use information told in confidence as a dagger.
  6. Support each other’s dreams. If your spouse wants to create the next rocket to Mars. Support them. Go to Amazon and purchase a book on making rockets. It may seem silly but it sends the sign that I support you; even if in the back of your mind you think this joker is crazy.
  7. Continue to have date night. The same way you got your boo, is the same way you keep them. Don’t let the fire die due to the everyday hustle and bustle of being adults with real responsibilities. In the words of Chante Moore “gimme that ole skool lovin’, like you use tooooooooooooo”. 
  8. Pray together. Having a strong foundation is essential to “Makin’ It Last Forever”. 

This list is not exhaustive. And I am sure many divorcèès can add to this list.

This is what 36 years in this LOVE GAME looks like. This is the definition of a boo-ation situation.

These fabulous folks are my parental unit.

My third time around I am taking a cue from their book of love!  10600550_10100771026374161_3934486204760507587_n

Mentors or Mistakes? You Decide: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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There is a saying that I have when working with young folks. You learn from either mentors or mistakes; mentors are people who have already made the mistakes so make sure you listen to them. Now I must have a moment of transparency. There were many times that I didn’t take my own advice. Ha! Yes, I know it sounds crazy, but most people don’t take their own advice. My mama has always called me a “show-me” girl. For some strange reason I liked (past tense) experiential learning versus listening to wise counsel. Well not anymore. The older I get, the more I understand that mentors are so necessary in my life. Mentors have been there, done that and have the t-shirt, mug and license plate cover to show it. Mentors provide many missing pieces to the puzzle. Mentors can let you know where the land mines are. Mentors can help you check yourself. Again mentors are very necessary.

As I embark on my new endeavors of being an author, business owner and a creative I am blessed to be surrounded by so many great people who are willing to show me the way. I can say in my daily 9 to 5 I have not had many intentional mentor relationships. However, in this new space that I am in the mentors have been many.

Here are the reasons you need one or more mentors:

  • You don’t know everything.
  • Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know.
  • You need an unbiased cheerleader.
  • You need to be pushed beyond your current capacity.
  • They help speed up the learning process.
  • You may think a question is stupid. They will just think you are a novice.
  • You need tough love.
  • They are connected to people that you need.
  • They help you add legs to your vision.
  • God says you need them (Proverbs 1:5, 13:20, Titus 2:2)

Make sure that your mentor experiences are not always one sided. Mentors use of their time, energy and resources is not to be taken lightly. As with all relationships we must nurture these whenever we can. Offer to VOLUNTEER your expertise or time, make a CONNECTION for them if you can, PROMOTE their events in your circles, and send them REFERRALS.

Relationships are circular in nature. When you get a good mentor/coach let the circle be unbroken.

Shoutout to my mentors!

Dr. Sabrina Jackson: Dr. Sabrina is a professional speaker with over 13 years experience with speaking to various audiences. Specifically, a Master Trainer in True Colors a model designed to help people work more collaboratively with those different from themselves.  Dr. Sabrina has created a model for the Body of Christ entitled Essential Colors which takes personality typing to another level. She provides speaking/training services to corporations, small businesses, conferences, retreats, churches, schools, and non-profits. The ultimate goal is to impact the world with the Essential Colors Model.

Check Dr. Sabrina out on her Facebook page.

Aprille Franks-Hunt: Aprille Franks-Hunt is an author, speaker, life & business advisor, as well as a multi-faceted business professional, who walked away from a successful career to pursue her passion of inspiring women beyond motivation. Her book, Confessions of an Independent Woman: Truth, Lies & Relationships released fall 2011. Aprille is natural born leader and the Creator/CEO of Women Recharged, a powerful movement designed to spread the global message of transformation through Aprille’s compelling LIVE, LEARN, and THRIVE mantra.

Check out Aprille’s community on Coach, Speak and Serve.

Both are knowledgable, helpful, on top of their game and giving of themselves.

Last bit of VERY important information. Mentorship is NOT free.99. At times it will cost you money, time, commitment, and energy. But aren’t your hopes, dreams and passions worth the expense?

Be Not Easily Offended: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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I’m baaaaacccckkkk!!!! I had so much fun at a 20 Year Vow Renewal wedding and reception that I had to recuperate from all of the 80’s and 90’s Hip Hop and R&B that went down on the dance floor. Shout out to one of my favorite couples Fred and Talisha Belk! Their love is FANTABULOUS and makes me hopeful to get my happily ever after one of these days.

But enough about my tootsie rollin’, supersonic escapades. Tonight I want to talk briefly (yes, I said briefly because I am about two sheets to the wind sleepy) about not being easily offended. Let me make a confession. When people talk about haters, I laugh because in my mind everybody likes me LOL!!!! Call me crazy, but I think I am a down-to-earth, dope, funny, loving, super supportive and sincere chick. Like if I wasn’t me, I would be my friend. But contrary to what I may believe that is not always the case.

In an effort to keep my skin thick (I’m thicker than a snicker) I make a conscious decision to not become easily offended when people say things that may rub me the wrong way. Now this is a big departure from how I used to respond to people’s comments. My old tactic was to chop and screw you up so bad with my words that you would think twice about saying something offensive to me ever again. But guess what? I now know the following things:

  • Hurt people, hurt people.
  • If I don’t mind, it don’t matter.
  • Most offensive comments have less to do with me and are more about the negative space the person making them is in.
  • I can at times be too much for some people. I laugh loud, I talk loud and I love loud.
  • Sometimes people admire who or what you are and have a funny way of showing it.
  • Being transparent helps people see that even though you look like you have it all together; you too are a work in progress.
  • If people knew what you had to do, to get where you are, they may change their mind about trying to take that path.
  • Favor ain’t fair and neither is spades LOL.
  • It’s easier to forgive folks that don’t know better than to write them off.
  • No one can dull my shine; especially when Christ is my light.

So next time you decide to be the offender, check yourself to see what is triggering this behavior. And if you happen to be on the receiving end of the offense, really try to look at the core of what is being said and the person behind the words.

Thanks for coming out! God Bless! Goodnight!

Renew Your Mind-Change Your Life: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

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EnVogue had a song that said “free your mind and the rest will follow”. Biblical scripture speaks 66 times about renewing your mind. I love the New Living Translation version of Romans 12:2 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ll take new person for $100 Alex! And I would rather let God make me a new person than do it myself.

If someone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be sitting at my dining room table writing a blog, sipping green tea, and trying to keep my 6 year from distracting me with her fake gymnastics I would have given them a mean side eye and smirk. To be honest I was not in a mind renewal mindset. My mindset was FIXED. I was miserable, in the midst of divorce #2, and trying not to sink in my sorrows. And I really didn’t think it could get better.

But guess what? It did. One day, I made a decision to have a made up mind. I decided to renew my mind. Step away from a fixed mindset and run as fast as I could towards my new reality. My growth mindset. A growth mindset says the following things:

  • I can learn anythings I want to: I learned how to start my own blog and business.
  • When I am frustrated, I persevere: I used to get on my own nerves when my plans didn’t go the way I thought they should. Now when situations go left and I want them to go right, I just look at it through a different lens. In essence, I keep it pushin’.
  • I want to challenge myself: I have decided to enroll in a free/low cost course via coursera.org to learn about personal finance or project management. The last time I had homework on a consistent basis was in 2006. The only homework I have been exposed to lately are 1st grade sight words. Pray church!
  • When I fail I learn: Moment of transparency. I have been married and divorced twice. Now if I have not learned anything from those failures; then it’s just a crime against humanity LOL! Third times a charm baby!!!! The next one is getting the Mama V 5.0 version of me. What were once seen as failures are really opportunities to learn and teach.
  • If you succeed, I’m inspired: I LOVE seeing people win. I LOVE to support others. I LOVE rooting for the underdog. The comeback story is the best invented. In the words of a great T-shirt line by LaTasha Eadyy Haynes. 11825567_10104396873537088_8578230699334325011_n
  • My effort and attitude determine everything: I am the co-captain of my own ship. I am the co-pilot of the journey. God is ultimately in charge. However, He has provided us with this thing called “free will”. In the end we get to choose either to be in His will or in His way. Faith without works is dead. Your faith is solely dependent on your effort and attitude. Effort and attitude have allowed me to sprinkle some #blackgirlmagic on various areas of my life.

Let me leave you with some inspirational words and some#blackgirlmagic as I close out this blog.

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Tappin’ On My Last One: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

511Sjhl7oNL._SY300_This sign is up on my refrigerator. It has been there since my oldest child was in middle school. Today was one of those days that I really wanted to go to Kinkos and have them blow this sign up billboard size and leave it in my living room, kitchen, bathroom and at the front door. Being a parent is no walk in the park and neither is being a single mother. You are a counselor, a doctor, a chef, a nurse, a teacher, preacher, chauffeur, negotiator and any other occupation that comes to mind. At times, it can seem like a very thankless job. Not to mention, you still have a real full-time job where are times you have to be those things to your clients, customers and co-workers.

Needless to say, our children, as much as we love them can work our last nerve. They can Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley Temple, Gregory Hines, Fred Astaire, Nicholas Brothers (let Google be your friend if you don’t know these names) all up on our last nerve. Tonight, I offer you life lessons from one parent of 19, 15 & 6 year olds to another on how to deal with the young people in our lives. Yeah, I have almost 20 years in the game. I’m not new to this, I’m true to this. That’s my inner sensitive thug coming out LOL!  This list is dedicated to the young folks in our lives who know so much, but at times know nothing at all.

  • Let your yes mean yes. Let your no mean no.
  • Let your children fail at something; it builds character, resilience and empowers them to make different choices next time.
  • Make them finish what they start as long as it’s not harmful to their health or well-being.
  • Teach them compassion for others, the world does not revolve around them.
  • Life ain’t fair and neither is playing Uno. Make them earn a win.
  • Stop doing everything for your children. Build their skill set by teaching them how to do things for themselves.
  • Make them apologize when they are wrong. But we must do the same. It lets them know that we are not Super Heroes nor a Robot.
  • Find them someone to talk to who is about 5 year or more older than them. A positive near peer is at times more effective than our yelling, cussing (oh don’t act like you haven’t done it or thought about it), or threatening.
  • Last, but not least make sure you spend healthy time away from each other. Now some people will frown at this. But you read it here first, being around ANYBODY 24/7 will drive you crazy, I don’t care how much they love each other. Because contrary to what we believe there are times that we can Tootsie Roll (see I told you, you can insert Tootsie Rollin’ anywhere) on their last nerve too. Hell, sometimes I get on my own nerves.

This list is not exhaustive. Yes, showing them love is a given.  And yes, some may think this list should be more loving, touchy-feely, and warm fuzzy. Well it’s one of those days and 2 out of the 3 young folks in my house have Sevion Glover’d (again Google him) all on my last nerve. So that’s all I got tonight folks. Maybe the sweet syrupy blog will happen tomorrow!

Put On Your Shoes: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

This is a “what’s the number to 911, code 10, man down situation”. I need your full attention on this Not So Random Thoughts. PLEASE PUT ON YOUR SHOES!!!!! No, it’s not because your feet stink. It’s because God is about to do a GREAT work in you and you need to be READY. This is a stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready moment. Stop taking all day to do nothing (that’s my mama’s famous line), stop pussyfooting (I want to know who looked at a cat tiptoeing around the yard and thought of that word), stop entertaining Negative Nouns (people, places and things) that add no value to your life.

We need the following type of shoes for the the journey that God has predestined for our lives:

  • Running: We are in the last 4 months of the year. That’s 121 days, 2921.94 hours, and 175316 minutes. That’s a lot of time. Sprint, leap, matter of fact run like you used to when we played tag as little children. But whatever you do, “make haste” (my daddy’s favorite expression). We need to run with the swiftness of a cheetah, but the grace of a gazelle. Our destiny, dreams, purpose, goals and gifts are waiting to be manifested. Run towards them. And it’s possible that you will run towards failure, disappointment or hardships on your path. But it is also possible that God has already made the provision for those things because He created the paths anyway. Let that sink in!
  • Working: Anything worth having and keeping is worth working for. In this season we must continue, yes, I said continue to do the work. Lay the foundation for your dreams. Nurture the garden of your goals. But whatever you do, don’t stop working. What it looks like in the natural realm is not what it really is in the spiritual realm. You could be right on the cusp of victory, but because it doesn’t look like what you imagined you ignore it. Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids and I don’t eat cereal (this phrase was told to a security guard at a DHS office in Detroit..ok enough of that). So anyway. Work your faith, work your mind, work your spirit, work your dream…you see where I am going with this?
  • Shoutin’: Now if you are not a church goer you may or may not know what shoutin’ shoes are. These are the shoes you wear to church when you really want to get your praise and worship on. Just tootsie rollin’ for Jesus (I told y’all a couple of blogs ago that you can tootsie roll for any occasion) for all the wonderful things that God has done in you, through you and to you. Sometimes shoutin’ requires you to go shoeless, stockingless or sockless…yes I have run up outta my shoes in certain instances. We must thank and praise God for setting up our lives in such a way that we know it must be Him at work!
  • Dancing: We are so close to the finish line. Trust me. As long as there is breath in your body, light in your spirit and eyes to see a new day you are close. Get ready to Tootsie Roll, Nae-Nae, Cabbage Patch, Schoolcraft, Ballroom, Hustle, Errol Flynn, Dougie, etc…to the finish line. When your dreams actually manifest, there will be such a feeling of exhilaration that you will not be able to contain yourself. Yes, you will need to run a lap. Church folks know all about that! I am dancing like David and if I use my imagination I can see him two-stepping.

The time is NOW! I will leave you with my motto for 2015 “If not now, when? If not me, who? Put your shoes on and go get what is rightfully yours!