Let's Get a Morning and Night Routine

Routines are soothing. That's why we develop morning and bedtime routines with our children. Routines comfort and soothe us. So today lets develop a routine. What would you do in the morning if time was not an option? FLOTUS and POTUS Michelle and Barack Obama wake up at 4 or 5am. to get time together and work out. I want to work out in the morning because it makes me feel empowered all day. I would also love to start and end my day with prayer and meditation. So what is stopping me? Me. All I have to do is set my alarm earlier and start my bed time routine at a certain time. It's a good idea to get your partner on board to make it easier to stay motivated. Journaling about what's on your mind before you go to sleep has been proven to help us sleep better. Sleeping better helps you be more productive through the day. Remember we have the same 24 hours in the day as President Obama, Tyler Perry and Beyonce. We can do it! Start today!

Your time, your treasure!

Day 3! Today's tip is to evaluate where you spend your time. Where your time is- there your treasure lies also. If you want to know what's important, think of your 85 year old self. Thank God I had the wisdom to think this at 20 years old when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. What will be important to me at 85? This child or my college degree? (I did not know at the time that I could have both!) what can we do today with our time that pur 85 year old self will appreciate? The Senior women at my church did a praise dance Sunday and I cried so hard thinking about how many strong, beautiful women did not get to become Seniors. My mentor Donna J. Rice and my Godmother, Von Woods may they continue to Rest in Peace. I exercise and eat right to be afforded the blessed opportunity to age. And I want to be a good steward with this time, body and health that I've been blessed with. In 2009 I was hospitalized for over a week with a bad fibromyalgia flare. I was determined to get my health back so I did just what I'm doing now with my blood pressure: rejected medication and found the natural way to fight inflammation. As a result, my fibromyalgia has been in remission and I have led a healthy lifestyle. There were sacrifices! McDonald's, pop, pizza 4 times a week- all had to go. I had to incorporate veggies and fruit and pack my lunch daily. But it paid off. My weight loss, decreased knee pain, breathing, energy level and quality of sleep have all improved due to my lifestyle change! To God be the Glory for surrounding me with a healthy husband and healthy co-workers, fb friends and role models. Write down your schedule, pencil yourself in: exercise, meditation, journaling, reading. Do things everyday that will build yourself up. Start today! 

Developing your Strengths

Day Two! Yesterday we started lowering our blood pressure by identifying those things that are bothering/worrying/upsetting us. Today we are going to put those things to the side and focus on our strengths. What is it you love to do? What has kept you through the hard times? Today let's journal about those things and think about how we will set aside time daily for those things in our life. These may be hobbies or they may be what we feel like are our ultimate purpose in life. For me- prayer is something that has helped me through and it's not something I have been consistent with in the past few years. Also, writing has helped me to sort through the clutter in my head and silence my fears. These are both things I need to do regularly. Let me know how you plan to exercise your strengths! 

Day One

So day one of lowering our blood pressure! Today we are going to figure out what is bothering us. Stress is a silent  killer. I say often in my motivational speeches: you cannot change what you will not acknowledge. When I start life coaching someone it is essential that I know what it is that is bothering them. You may know off the bat that it's your job, your weight or your relationship. But sometimes we don't know what is bothering us. So today I'll ask you to write about what is stressing you. You can either write in the comments or journal. If you don't know what's bothering you here are ways to figure it out: 
1. Freewrite. If you write freehand you can just sit down and start writing and perhaps your real issue will come to the forefront.
2. Make a list of the five things that are annoying you today. They may seem simple but a pattern may clue you to the real problem. 
3. Ask your best friend. Say what do I complain about the most? A real friend will tell you! Get clear about the problem so we can work on a solution! 

Assuming the Best Intention

While in High School there was a moto that went something like Expect the best, prepare for the worst. But my life has always been more like expect the worst, prepare for the worst. Certainly multiple traumas, car accidents, abandonment and abuse reiterated that for me- this was the way it was going to be. However, thinking like that keeps me on edge, irritated, combative and in fight or flight mode. I am hoping that in 2016 I can move closer to expecting the best. 

I remember last year when I was trying to buy my first house. I'd been in the process of buying a house at least 5 times and gotten all the way to closing once and had the deal fall through. I kept bracing myself for it not to work out so much that I was unable to celebrate when the deal went through! I am always bracing for the next big hurt or dissapointment.

But what would happen if I began to expect that every interaction brought with it some good? That every individual meant me good instead of harm. It may not keep bad things from happening- that is a part of life- but it may get me out of perpetual frustration and irritation. Maybe it's just a mistake and not oart of a bigger plan to take me down. Maybe she got pulled away from her phone and her lack of response to my text does not mean she doesn't want to speak to me anymore. Maybe this disagreement doesn't have to signal the end of a friendship. Maybe I can be hurt and healing and loving and forgiving and sometimes uncomfortable but always present. I will work this week on assuming the best and taking people's word at face value. I will show up and be present in all interactions. I will expect the best, even if I am conditioned to prepare for the worst! 

Establing before Enlarging My Territory

I am a writer and soon I'll get to doing that, but for right now I'm trying to do better with what is already on my plate. A few years ago everyone was praying the Prayer of Jabez: "Enlarge my territory" however, something dropped in my Spirit: Before enlarging my territory, I need to be established with the territory I have already been entrusted with. How do I mean? Well, my dream car is a BMW 325. However, I need to treat my Chevy Equinox like it IS my dream car. My dream house is a 2,000 square foot mansion but I need to clean and care for my 903 foot ranch like it is that mansion. The same goes for my job, my kids, my husband, my body, my finances. The Bible says if we are faithful over a few things He will make is rulers over many. So many of us are waiting for the next big thing in our lives without realizing that today is the dream of yesterday. We are so busy getting to the next phase of life that we are not enjoying the here and now. No matter what your situation, you are blessed. You are not where you usedto be. You are the one who will be the Master of your fate. With God's help all things are possible. If you start walking by faith nothing will be impossible to you. Join your faith with other believers and watch things happen! 

Dealing with Life

Someone this weeks said, "It's always something!" And Tommy Gallo, when talking about his struggle with anxiety said you wake up and do what you have to do to get through the next day. What do you do when you confont adversity. I have been the type of person who let problems in life rattle me. It took me a year to get over failing the bar exam each time! Other times, grieving and trying to get over a relationship put me in a rebound relationship where my guard was down and the outcome was all bad. But Tommy got me to thinking. Stuff does always happen but what if we got up and kept going? Some people do this to the detriment of dealing with the stuff going on in their life. I'm not suggesting that. You have to deal with what is bothering you inside. However, you don't have to check out and risk your job, relationships or health while dealing with your stuff. Your routine helps you to keep going. Exercising and eating right are at the top of the list of things that will nourish you while you get through. In addition, praying and fasting will also help give you clarity and direction. It's always something and we would be naive to think that obstacles won't come. But what we choose to do in the meantime can make a big difference in the fallout. Because eventually, we will have to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. Thanks, Tommy! 

I see you

What impressed me about my Granny in the hospital yesterday was not her strength and resilience, it was the way she spoke to every Nurse, Doctor and Medical Assistance with politeness, dignity and respect. I had never noticed how polite she was. How she said thank you to everyone who came to service her. She recognized everyone in her circle. That was really powerful for me. I try to do that- to deal with everyone I come in contact with with respect. But here is my 93 year old Grandmother, sick, in the hospital, doing it. We are all valuable. Make eye contact and really see everyone you come in contact with today, for Granny. 


It's been a roller coaster few weeks. The holiday season always brings a lot of mixed emotions. For years my family did Holiday traditions that separated us and caused lots of anxiety for me. We would go over my Dad's house for his annual holiday dinners (thanks Charlotte), but my Hubby wouldn't go and recently Kalia wouldn't go. So I made the difficult choice to start new family traditions with my family which caused a rift. So this holiday was filled with pride and unity and acceptance and warmth but I still felt a little guilt and anxiety and even like I was abandoning my Dad. But ultimately we have to move forward and grow and surround ourselves with those that see the best in our lives, our marriages and our children. I am so proud of the adults my children are becoming. Proud of Kalia's decision to marry and trust in love at a young age; proud of Kaissa's independent spirit, resiliency and adaptability. And Jamir is surprising me everyday with his care and concern for others and keeping up with his glasses, phone and house keys- huge things for him! Our family is not perfect but we are perfect for each other. My husband has stepped in as role model, father figure and father to five kids sans active biological fathers and one of his own. He does not have to engage but he chooses to, and I am grateful. So there were a lot of transitions at the end of the year. Sometimes growth and change is painful; but ut's always necessary.

My Granny

Most people who know me know my Granny is my everything. Well I got a text today from my Uncle that he had to take her to the hospital because she has been unable to keep food down for two days. After talking to my boss and co-workers I went to the hospital to see her. She had been re-hydrated and was feeling good. On the way home my 17-year old Kaissa said "I've constructed a narrative about Grandma that she is invincible." My first response was- that's not a narrative, it's the truth. Then I told her that narrative was a defense mechanism against the inevitability that one day she would leave us. I have cried my whole life over the thought that my Granny would one day leave me. It's a gut wrenching thought that brings tears to my eyes. She is the Lillie of my valley and I have never known a day without her love and support. I am praying and hoping that she recovers and comes home. I'm thinking of all my friends and families who have had to find an anchor when their Granny has gone on to glory. Praying for Granny and praying for our entire family. At the end of the day, all of our lives should glorify God. And my Granny's life does that, daily. 

Wading through the Storm: Fibromyalgia

Today is one of those days. Anyone who has been diagnosed with an auto immune disease knows what I'm talking about. You look fine, but you feel like a truck hit you. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2009 after years of chronic pain. It started in 2003 after I was in two car accidents within a few months of each other. I struggled to get out of bed during this time and always felt tired and lethargic. The pain and aches would come and go and usually came after I had "over done it." It wasn't until I was hospitalized and my blood pressure and labs were out of wack enough that I was finally diagnosed by the Rheumatologist as havign fibromyalgia: a chronic pain disease that can be triggered by illness or stress. So I overhauled a lot of things in my life in order to deal with my illness. I changed my diet to a mainly plant-based diet and eliminated fried food, fast food and most meat. Over time, the pain subsided and I began to enjoy life again. But this weather, the sudden cold is probably bringing on a fibromyalgia flare. I felt like I was coming down with the flu last night. Walking feels like wading through water, my arms feel heavy, there's a slight headache. How do we keep going when your body feels like it is shutting down? We focus on the positive: we know that this will only last for a short period of time; we can stretch and do yoga; enjoy a warm bath; stay warm (I have on the cutest sweater today and long johns under my jeans). We keep going because we must. Because sitting still under the blanket for too long makes us more stiff and then we start to feel sorry for ourselves. Auto immune disease means our body has turned on itself. I think it is the result of experiencing trauma and our body's attempt to make since of the lingering trauma in our bodies. Many people living with fibromyalgia have had abuse (physical and sexual) as well as car accidents as part of their history. All I can do is what I can do. I will love myself through the pain and get up tomorrow to see and conquer another day. That's what survivors do...

Success (preparation plus opportunity)

Success is when preparation meets opportunity. So many of us want something in life but yet we aren't doing anything towards our goal. I have always wanted to be a writer but for years I let fear of what others think keep me from writing. We are what I do. If we want to be healthy we need to make healthy choices. If we want to be happy we need to spread happiness. If we want consistency then we need to take steps to be consistent. That's my list. I am working on being present, happy, healthy and consistent. Opportunities come but we aren't ready. Being in shape helps us prepare for the next stage in life. Monday comes for us but are we ready? What can we do tonight that will ensure we have the Monday we desire? You decide. 

Welcome 2016

Thanking the Lord for another year. I was able to accomplish so much last year. I really got my weight and finances under control in 2015!!! I finally moved in with my husband after 7 years of marriage!! I have two children out of the house which feels amazing!!! Now for this current year. I want to deal with and conquer the fear that has kept me from writing and publishing. This year I want to complete my writings that I have started over the past 20 years. I finally have all my writings recovered and on one computer. So now I just have to make a decision on what I need to work on first and execute. I am so thankful and appreciative for all that I was able to accomplish last year. Some of the things I was able to do like purchasing my first home were because I worked hard since 2010 to get my credit right, save money, and because Huntington is a great bank! I was able to buy my home from my father which really made the process a lot easier. My goals are really the culmination of lots of small things done right. I got baby fever at the end of the year and struggled with whether or not there is room in our lives for another baby. At 40, I'm not sure it's something I can take on physically or mentally. But no one ever regrets having a baby! But now that my oldest is married, I'm sure Grandbabies are in my foreseeable future. So maybe that will fufill my fix. I have gained 8 pounds over the holiday so I've got to work to get that off! I'm going to relish every moment of 2016. Are you? 

Staying the Course

I've always been great at starting things. Someone once even called me a "fire starter." But staying the course is more difficult for me. I tend to get bored easily and lose momentum in just days. My new way of life is no different. I started off like a beast this week in qvr (quick visible results) with my trainer, doing two a days Monday and Tuesday, now on Saturday, I feel like I can barely get off the couch! Nevertheless, I am sticking to my eating and exercise plan and it feels good. 

The best thing I could have done was to create one sheet where I put all my workouts for the week and my meal plan. This has been my go-to document all week. When in doubt, I pull out the sheet. It has kept me grounded and safe when temptation came my way. I also planned in my favorite meal at the movie theatre- pizza and popcorn. I feel so in control and so empowered. But I still don't feel like getting off the couch today!

There is something else that keeps us grounded- prayer and time in the Word. It is the way we can stay grounded and look for ways to make good decision. It is a light unto our feet, a lamp unto our paths. There are so many resources that can be utilized if we just look for them. Workouts on youtube, trainers that will help for discounted prices, Body by Todd training deals on Groupon. We just have to open ourselves up. There is an old saying that goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher will come." So I am ready to change my life. This week was difficult, there was a lot of emotional issues that came up this week that tempted me to emotional eat. My Grandfather passed, my son started expressing his dissatisfaction with life, marital issues, etc. But I stayed the course- turned down Carmen's Cupcakes on Thursday and kept with my meal plan all week, even when I had to substitute meals. Knowing that I will have to weigh in has really helped to keep me on task but the trainer told us not to worry if we gain or fail to lose weight this week because we may retain water due to muscle soreness. So I'm going to continue to do my best and be loving and forgiving to myself. And guess what, I'm going to sit on this couch and enjoy the All Star Game, I got my 60 minutes of Cardio in and I'm chillin!!!!!!!

Goodbye Grandpa

Your Grandparents are 1/4 of who you are. So I found out tonight that I lost my Paternal Grandfather. A man known as RV- Richmond, Virginia. He was tall, dark, and nothing at all like I'd pictured him when I finally met him at the house before my baby sister's funeral. He wore a tupee, had big bulging eyes and was a man of few words. Even today, I can see the five or six times I saw him but I cannot recall his voice or his hug or his smile- although I do believe he smiled at me. 

I am his oldest living grandchild and I should have gone to see him. Just tonight I told my Maternal Grandma that I was going to see him- that I hoped he didn't die before I got to see him- like what happened with my grandma (Price). But less than three hours later a call from my Dad confirmed that it had happened again. And now 2/4 of who I am were gone- leaving me with more questions than answers- holes where memories and unconditional love should reside. 

I met him for the first time at the funeral- my little sister had died of complications of Downs Syndrome. 

Then there was the time my aunt took me over his house shortly after I'd had Kalia- behind my Dad's back. 

I saw him once in the hospital when the prognosis looked grim. He was laying there so helpless- nothing like the mean and surly abuser I'd heard stories about growing up. 

And then the last time I saw him- at my Grandmother's funeral in 2008- he looked like the more diminuitive version of himself. His eyes held me tenderly across the table, saying what his mouth and embrace never could say. It was his resemblance to my Dad that caused me to recognize him that day. And I proudly introduced my children to him saying- "That's your Great-Grandpa." They looked at me blankly and I knew the words were as devoid of meaning to them as they were to me. 

Now he's gone. And with him go all the dreams I had of having a big, fat, jolly Santa Claus Grandpa who would buy me ice cream and rub my knee when I fell. The truth is, I have failed him as much as he failed me. Perhaps he dreamed of his Granddaughter, The Lawyer, coming to reconcile things before he passed. But that day never came. And now I must live with, and make peace with that fact. RIP RV Price

It's Happening Again...

I remember in Elementary School- a good day at school meant a bad day at home, a good day at home meant a bad day at school. A great day at church meant hell to pay on Monday. The more good I did, the more pain I felt. Now I'm trying to write- not for myself but so that others will benefit. And the better I write the more I seem to go through. I wrote about this some in my first blog of the new year. This may be the Secret at work. I expect something bad to follow after something good so it happens. I don't want to normalize this pattern but I also want to stop getting thrown off track. What do I do?

Feeling Good

Things are going well this new year. I know these changes are permanent. I know something greater is on the way. I am praising God in advance for all things. I love my husband and I know that he is the one for me. I am committed to him in all ways. I look forward to growing old with him. My kids are wonderful and I love them so much. My oldest daughter has taught me a lot about life and unconditional love. My second daughter has taught me about trusting kids to mature and grow. My oldest son has taught me there is genius in us all. The twins taught me to believe in miracles. And Benjamin taught me to believe in my dreams. He was the baby I dreamed of having with the man of my dreams who had no kids. I have lived a very full life and expect more in the future. Kids were never part of the plan but I'm so glad they came. My life would be so different without them. 

There are things I want to change but I believe I have the tools now. I feel I have made the most progress with finances. Even though I still struggle with day-to-day I have a lot of what I need to survive and thrive. I spend my money on my needs- I don't have things snowballing out of control financially like I did for many years. My husband reminds me all the time that I am raising six little ones with these limited means and that I need to be proud of myself for that. It was easier when I was getting child support from the absentee fathers. Money could never replace their presence but it helped. Now that there is no more child support, it's a struggle. But the tools are here. I am excited about using 10% of my income for short-term saving, tithing 10% and using 10% as spending money that I don't have to account for. I got this from a book called "Debt-proof Your Marriage" and I followed the principals one year and was able to amass a nice little savings in a short time. Tithing is a principal that works for me- giving 10% of your income to God. And who wants to work hard everyday and not have money I for treats like the movies and their favorite coffee? So today was my first day and I"m excited and I'm not ashamed to tell you that my account was in the negative when I deposited my check. And that this was my last time being in the negative. Like the Old School Rap song says, "It ain't where you from/it's where you at." So this year I am in control of my finances and moving forward!

New Years Theme

I sense a theme here, every new year I get inspired to write...Then life happens and I don't keep up with the blog. What's really going on? Well, for one, I've always done better at writing when I'm miserable and going through, however, lately, I've not wanted to be transparent because I know the power of words. After I read the Secret, I wondered what I was putting out in the universe and how it was coming back to me. I went through times of feeling like I was jinxing myself by discussing certain things. So many things last year were still up in the air, in my life, in my head, in my heart. But now I feel a bit more settled and a bit more sure of myself. I know that writing is one of my dreams, and I'm committed to seeing it through no matter how painful or difficult it may be to see myself reflected in my writings. I love my last blog from January 2012- I know that I am going somewhere, that there will be ups and downs but I'm confident in the person that I am and the life that I'm choosing to live. I am married and committed to my marriage. I am still a mother and love my children with all my heart. My husband and I have had our own baby which has colored our relationship and deepened our dedication to each other. His name is Benji and he is a one-of-a-kind. My job is wonderful. The organization I work for: Moms2B (www.moms2bohio.com) is one of those rare gems that is working to transform people's lives. They are able to use my skill set while being open and developing and it's a great place for me to grow professionally as well as personally. I love my friends so much. I have ride or die friends that are there for everything. I've also lost some friends very close to me because of their opinion about how I handle certain things in my life. I've visited Israel twice and love it! I can definitely see myself living there one day. I love my in-laws- they are so special. I am truly blessed to live this unorthodox life that keeps me close to God's love and mercy every day.

Blogging is therapeutic but also scary, because I can go back and read my entries and remember exactly how I was feeling, what I was thinking and something it's different than the stories I've had to create to move on, or to be strong. But that's okay. All of these things written here are here for a reason. And to go back and read and recognize my strengths as well as my weaknesses can only make me a better writer and a better person in the long run. I invite people to look into my life, not as spectators, but as concerned observers, who may learn something about themselves by looking into my life. My fears are your fears and my triumphs are your triumphs and my unanswered questions are there for us both to analyze and look for answers. I am very comfortable in my skin, and invite you to take off your masks, take off your roles and evaluate who you are underneath all of that. And when you find that person, love (him) her fiercely (in the words of Ntozake Shange).

I am still soaring through the storm, enjoying the rain as well as the sunlight when it appears. The joy is that I am soaring, that it ain't hard being me. My smiles come easily as do my hugs. I am working on my anger and my weight and my impulsiveness. But I love all of me and I invite those close to me to love me too! But more importantly, I invite you to love yourselves unapologetically!

Another New Year

My last post was exactly a year ago. I was so confused, things were so foggy. Where was I going to live? Where was I going to work? How was I going to get over not passing my Master's Thesis? What about my marriage? I did a lot of hard work this year and it paid off. I applied to be a Professor at Columbus State in the Paralegal Department, frankly because that was the only place I could teach without a Master's Degree. And guess what? In August I started as an Adjunct Professor at Columbus State! #Winning. Also, I went back to my first love: working with moms and babies in my community. I started at Columbus Public Health Department at a group I used to work at: Caring for 2. That led me to my current position as Community Advocate or something at Moms 2 B- a position I love.

In April, I moved into a beautiful home where my kids can play in the back yard and ride bikes around the neighborhood. I have an organic garden in my back yard. I love it. And my kids are at great schools. My husband and I have weathered some tough storms together are we are still committed to one another. My life is not perfect and I am not where I want to be, but I'm very, very appreciative of where I am.

I am detailing my struggles with weight loss on my other blog slimnique.blogspot.com. I am currently doing the Love Dare on my husband. Lots of great stuff happening around here. Lots of healing and wholeness and happiness. And lots of appreciation, for my parents, my grandparents and my children.

Starting Place

It's been over a year since I've written. Had a ton of thoughts since then, but I just haven't been able to put words to paper. Today is that day. It's a new year, the start of a new decade and I've got a lot on my mind today. I feel so overwhelmed, by love and justice and determination. But all around me is chaos and lack of direction. Life feels so complicated and it's hard to find our way through. Today I have to take some time a get some perspective. 2011 just sort of thrust itself upon me. I was busy writing a thesis that did not pass and didn't have time to enjoy the holidays and ponder the advent of another year. Today my focus is on clarity. Not necessarily looking into the future and having a road map of what's coming next, but clarity about the role I play in my own destiny. Will I be able to say, at the end of the day, that I did all that was necessary to achieve my purpose? That is what I am pondering for today. I will update what comes from this focus in the next few days. Think about with me what you were put on this earth to do and what is keeping you from that? What are you willing to do or sacrifice to make your dreams come true?