The month of May: What I Love?
- Mother’s Day
- Finally Spring
- Flowers Blooming
- Lovely Weather
- Countdown to Summer
It is unbelievable how quickly 29 years passed. It feels like it was just yesterday we were preparing for our graduation ceremony at Villanova Univesity. In lieu of waiting until for our officially 29 years since graduating in June, we planned a reunion with a girls night out at Painting with a Twist. Everyone had to bring a dish and their favorite bottle.
This was my first time at Painting with a Twist and I assume having wine definitely alters or improves your artistic ability. It was great to reconnect and it felt like high school on FAST FORWARD. The only difference is our conversation has evolved to real life marriage, children, and parenting. It was definitely a sanity check for me as I am challenged with raising a teen. No matter how many years were missing we connected like it was yesterday.
What I realized after 29 years is that we all share a common thread – being MOTHERS. It was so much fun to connect on the challenges of raising children. I realized as mothers we all have similar experiences in parenting. In 1987, our conversation was filled with plans for our futures now as we fast forward to 2016 our lives have evolved over so many chapters. I believe going to all girls high school created lasting friendships. When we meet after some many years it is easy to pick up where we are today. I’m looking forward to celebrating our 30th REUNION.
We are now committed to a meetup every quarter. See you in June!!
Women’s History Month is a celebration of achievement. In my thirties, I remember hearing life starts at 40. When I turned 40 I spent a few relaxing days in Miami, kid-free and spouse-free. Shortly after turning 40 I was separated and moving forward with my divorce.
I will say turning 40 gives you a more a renewed sense of SELF! There is an overwhelming feeling of power to define who you are and what you want on your TERMS.
Yes, aging happens and guess what it can be the best JOURNEY! The most IMPORTANT thing I can do is to take care of my TEMPLE! I always joke that I will work out well into my 80s. The physical and mental boost you received from making FITNESS a part of your daily regimen is IMMEASURABLE. Aging is a fact of life but how we choose to EMBRACE it is what MATTERS the MOST!
As I reflect on Women’s History Month, and my thoughts on being a woman I shift to my 9 yo DAUGHTER. My daughter is my biggest critic and/or fan. She is the one who gives me a thumbs up or thumbs down on everything outfits, makeup, hair, clothing, body, etc. The list goes on and on and on! It is like living with my own personal FASHION POLICE, 24/7! My daughter is the one who points out my disrespectful gray hair and that mommy pouch that never seems to completely disappear. You know what? I take it in stride but there are days when I want to seal her LIPS with a key!
One day my daughter she said, ” mom I think you’re the oldest mom out of my classmates”. In my mind, I was thinking here we go again. She literally acts like I’m ready for an assisted living facility. I gave her my usual very, very extended SIDE EYE! Then she follows up with “mom you’re really slimming down from working out” In my mind I’m doing two snaps in the AIR and walking my imaginary runway!
Now at the tender age of 46, I feel age is truly a number. Your mental outlook is what dictates the overall aging process! I remember my daughter pointing out my stretch marks and my response was sharply followed up with YES, YOU and your Brother DID THIS!
While in the back of my mind the( SNARKY SECTION) I am thinking how this child should get married and have four sets of stretch marks!!!!!! Only so she can appreciate! I DIGRESS.
As a woman, I have learned to appreciate my STRETCH MARKS as they are symbolic of being a GIVER OF LIFE! Why be hard on me about something that is a part of NATURE? One lesson my daughter has taught me is to EMBRACE every inch of what makes ME! BEAUTY in every inch!
I feel as women we are way too hard on ourselves. When I told a colleague I was planning to wear a two piece at the beach, her comment was “don’t you have stretch marks?” and my response was “yes, and?” In celebration of all the beauty, we possess even when we are not feeling it, ponder on these thoughts!
A new job is challenging however every experience prepares you for the next chapter.
After working for a non-profit organization for 12 months and 14 days, I realized how much I learned about myself. Job loss can be very challenging but I am using this time to REFOCUS and PRIORITIZE!!! Whew I feel this time is necessary to determine what is most important for me and my kids. I thought my new role required me to be fully committed to make a difference. As I reflect on the year, it dawned on me how much the weight of bringing my laptop home every night to work after dinner, in the wee hours of the night, and sometimes on my weekend was exhausting . I think it is important to never lose defining your dreams as you work on fulfilling someone else’s. When you move on it brings OPPORTUNITY to shape the next move and hopefully INSPIRE ME to fulfill my DREAMS at the same time!
What I Learned……
I found this PHENOMENAL video, a great summary on work/life balance!!!
Where has my social media time gone? When I started blogging in 2009, I had no idea social media was going to boom into a platform with millions of users. My first blogging platform was Blogger and then I evolved to WordPress. It amazes me each day on how much I have learned over the course of 7 years.
Life happens each year and I will admit there were multiple times when I took extended breaks. Also thought about stopping for good. It is interesting to hear people who don’t quite understand social media offer advice or their unsolicited thoughts on social media. Yes, people may ask “why do you do this?”, “how much are you making ?” and “no one wants to read about that. you need to write on ………” As I celebrate my 7th year of blogging I thought it was time for a redesign
For the new year, I wrote down a list of short term and long term goals. One goal was a new blog design especially when I realized my last design was in 2012. After 4 years with the same design, a new design was long overdue. I view this as a NEW LOOK, NEW INSPIRATION to continue sharing my story.
I am fortunate to have a positive network of people who continue to keep me encouraged and motivated to share my story. Just when I think no one is reading I see two comments this week that said: “I love your blog”. I was overwhelmed, to say the least and feeling like this put everything into perspective for me moving forward.
Big ShoutOut to Jen at JenOni for her graphic design skills and patience with getting the new design finished in March.
My dad’s love. This post is filed under “my inspiration” however not sure how to be INSPIRED on this topic.My dad passed away 28 years ago and his birthday is January 1st. Every new year is a great beginning and a reminder of his birthday with the void it has left. My dad passed away as I was starting my second year of college and he was over the moon proud. I was the first of his six children to go to college. For him, education was a big deal. Although he was not a college graduate, he believed in the benefits of education or pursuing a trade. He worked hard and was highly skilled in a lot of areas. I give him credit for my interest in science.
While I was de-cluttering a room at my mom’s house I found my high school graduation cards. I will always treasure this card from my dad, wow to seen his signature after 28 years. I remember sitting on the stage at my high school graduation and looking over at my family and winking at my dad. It feels like it was yesterday. The best part of the day is having a limo transport us to and from the graduation ceremony. My dad tried to provide anything for his “SMOOCH”. I remembered he drove miles to get my Barbie RV so I would have in time for Christmas.
He always wanted me to go to college as I was thinking “come on dad what else would I do” Unfortunately my dad passed away during the 1st semester of my sophomore year. I can remember the pride on my dad’s face when I made the dean’s list. It was tough returning to school but I pride my dad felt made it worth the effort.
When I look back over my life I often wonder if he is my guardian angel. Hopefully, he is and smiling down on his busy grandchildren who constantly throw his “smooch” for a loop. Just the other day my baby bro and I were talking about how each of us stands just like our dad. It was funny that we both noticed.
In 2016, I am now 46 years old and high school was almost 29 years ago. I hear people say losing someone gets better over time and I will be the first one to say this is untrue. When I think of the missed conversations, graduating from college, buying my first car, my first job, becoming a mother, etc there is no way to replace a dad’s perspective. A dad is the first man in your life who loves, protects and provides a genuine perspective to make critical decisions. I envy women who have their dads during their adult years. There is no price you can put on reaching out to your dad for advice or having him make you laugh. I know having his advice would have prevented me from making some reckless decisions.
Shortly after New Years Day stores are adorned with Valentines Day cards, gifts, and decorations. If you’re single it may be a bittersweet day. What should you do? Do you spend it alone? or with single friends? Honestly, I like the idea of having a special day to acknowledgement those you love. I do not believe this is the only day to show love or give love. Unconditional love is a given on every day of the calendar. While I enjoy dinner out the only date I could wish for on Valentine’s Day is with my dad.
My Valentine’s Wish
Dear Younger Self,
What were my dreams? Wow, where should I start? Plan wisely! The dreams of becoming a pediatrician can be fulfilled with the right plan and mentors. When you look in the mirror smile and know that your intelligence and beauty exist both inside and outside. As I was told the only person who can stop YOU from fulfilling your dreams is the person looking back in the mirror. You will learn that confidence is built over time and experience.
As you matriculate through grade school, high school, and college you will see how the dynamics of family and friendship change tremendously. I would call these the years of maturation, responsibility and ultimately adulthood. There is so much to weather through on the road to adulthood joy, pain, love, dislike (hate is a strong word) births and death. Although a loss is hard to deal with as you are becoming an adulthood, remember some experiences help to make you stronger. The friends you meet and have along the way may not last a lifetime however real friendships last an eternity. Growth has so much value to build who you are becoming as an adult. Educate yourself to ensure a brighter future and opportunities. Set goals no matter how big or small, have a vision that becomes reality.
In order to realize your dreams, always surround yourself with people who are supportive and moving in the same direction of success. Eliminate negative people, places and things as this will only halt your growth.
Always have the ability to challenge what you believe. The phrase “I can’t” is unacceptable if it closes doors to your dreams. Each year try something new, never have regrets. The words” I can’t” should never be a part of your vocabulary. Fear has no place in a fulfilled life, travel and see the world to gain perspective on other people, places, and cultures. When it is time to choose a mate look for the values and abilities you have achieved for yourself. I know the old adage is opposites attract but commonality makes a huge difference in a loving long term relationship. The way to your heart should be someone who offers you unconditional love, support, respect, appreciates every facet of who you are even with your imperfections, compliments your growth, and uplifts your spirit. You, in turn, should reciprocate the same qualities you hope to receive from another.
Life is filled with so many experiences so make the most of every hour, second, day, month and year you are blessed to receive. First and foremost, continue to love who you see in the mirror!
In every new year, I notice there is a rush to create a laundry list of resolutions. I love the statement, what do I resolve to do differently? I firmly believe my life is headed on the right path however there things I can improve for myself to create a better space mentally and physically. After reading this great article at Inc.com, it put a lot in perspective for my new year. Here’s the article One Word Can Change Your Life in 2016: Here’s How
My word for 2016 is DETERMINED. I am DETERMINED to live better mentally and physically.
I thought 2014 was a whirlwind of events but 2015 was truly a reality check. I started 2015 in my new job of 8 months. In May, my new job came to an end. It was eye-opening and a welcome relief at the same time. I see now it was an unexpected break to work on me. I spent the summer totally re-evaluating my short-term and long-term plans. I interviewed and returned to one of my previous employers.
All EXPERIENCES whether good, bad or indifferent offer such valuable LESSONS and opportunity for GROWTH.
I am looking forward to my JOURNEY in 2016!!!!!!
What inspires you to make a difference? I am always inspired whenever there is an opportunity to support a great CAUSE! If you need a reason to lace up your running or walking footwear, mark your calendars in September!
Are you familiar with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital? When I think of St. Jude I only associated the institution with research for childhood cancer. After participating in this awareness campaign, I learned that St. Jude has one of the largest sickle cell disease programs in the country with more than 800 patients. St. Jude was the first institution to cure sickle cell disease with a bone marrow transplant in the 1980s. During my first pregnancy, I remember my OB/GYN ordered my blood work and suggested the blood screen for the sickle cell trait. I am not a carrier of the trait however I learned a very close friend carries the trait. It made me realize those affected are closer than we may realize. Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder affecting red blood cells that can cause anemia, pain, organ damage and even death. The disease affects one in 500 African-Americans and some people of Hispanic, Mediterranean and Native American descent.
St. Jude and Sickle Cell Disease
On June 19th, 2008, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution to recognize sickle cell disease as a public health concern. From this assembly, June 19th is now World Sickle Cell Day and September is designated as Sickle Cell Awareness month. In 2011, St. Jude led a national study that showed the same drug used to treat adults with sickle cell disease was effective with infants and toddlers. The drug, hydroxyurea reduced the number of hospitalizations and alleviated other symptoms in younger patients. St. Jude received the first grant for sickle cell disease research before the hospital was opened. Another significant highlight for St. Jude was developing a nationally recognized program for teenagers to assist with managing the disease as they transition to adulthood and non-pediatric healthcare professionals.
If you are familiar with BET’s Sunday Best you know finalist Latice Crawford. On Friday, June 19th, Latice Crawford, performed at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Crawford, who carries the sickle cell trait, sang her latest single “Look at Yourself Again” for patients and staff. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has one of the largest sickle cell disease programs in the country.
photo credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
photo credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital provides families with services at no cost for treatments, travel, housing and food. Please visit the link to learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
HOW CAN YOU HELP TO RAISE MONEY FOR THIS AMAZING RESEARCH INSTITUION? September is Sickle Cell Awareness month and Childhood Cancer Awareness month, there are 58 St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer events across the US during the month of September.
How do you encourage your friends and family to get involved? There are 2 reasons to encourage family and friends to get involved 1) inspired to raise money for this amazing research institution 2) a fun way to engage family and friends in a fitness activity for a worthy cause!!! Get involved and register for an event in your respective area! St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer
If you are in Pennsylvania, there are 3 events:
Capital City Mall, Camp Hill, PA – September 26
Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia, PA – September 19
Frick Park, Pittsburgh, PA – September 26
Drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org if you decide to join an event in your area!