My Why

So…one of the things I absolutely love to do is listen to positive, uplifting messages. I heard it said by Les Brown that when you are working toward being successful and living your best life, you must know your why.  What are you working toward?  What makes you want to get up in the morning and strive for your goals? Why are you doing what your are doing?

This past week I had the great fortune of spending six blessed and exciting days in North Carolina with my son and three year old grandson.  Each day was an adventure.  We visited local parks, chased waterfalls, hiked, had lunch at Lake Lure where Dirty Dancing was filmed and spent hours exploring small towns.  For me, of course, the days went by too fast and my time spent with them was too short.  However, to say that I am grateful for my vacation is the understatement of the year.


My boys are amazing!  My son is still the best kid I know.  He’s always been kind and loving.  Such a tender-hearted young man.  My grandson, well he is much like his father at that age.  I don’t think I’ve seen that kid walk.  He loves to run and explore. His favorite place to go is the park because he already understands that at the park he can run himself until he can no longer feel his legs.

I don’t think there is anything I wouldn’t do to help either of those boys to succeed in life.  My hope is that I was able to give my son the best parts of me so that he is able to give that and more to my grandson.  They give me life.  They give me air.  They help me to remember what’s important in life.  They are my “why”.  Anything that I will ever accomplish in life will be because of them, the future I wish to give them and the legacy I wish to leave them.  Because of them I will never stop driving, I will never stop pushing and I will never give up.


Living my best life…:)






Lend Your Voice

I love this scripture…

Exodus 34:6-7 – And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

I love this scripture because it makes me think. It helps me to understand situations in my life when they don’t always make sense. Exodus 34 starts with Moses being visited by God on Mt. Sinai on the day God wanted Moses to create the Ten Commandments on stone tablets.

Personally, I do not believe that God sits around counting up all of the things we do wrong and then figuring out ways to punish us for them. I believe God loves each and everyone of us and wants the best for us. I also believe that even though God loves us, we have to make our own choice to love him. I believe that sometimes, its our own choices that can cause us misery and pain. Not to say that when we choose to love and respect God that we won’t feel some pain, sadness or discomfort because we will. I just believe that it is not at the same level of intensity.

Choosing a life with God gives us an opportunity to see and handle life’s challenges in a different way. When we learn to handle situations in a different way we can create a life that we love and enjoy. We can be set free. The part of this scripture that grabs me is…”by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” When we choose to do life on our own, I believe we block our opportunity to live the life God wants us to have and that choice can impact the lives of our children and our children’s children.

My mom had some challenges in her life. She didn’t always want to face them or find a way to deal with them in a positive way. She loved going to church and being around people, however, she never personally dealt with her fears, the things that held her mind captive and was the source of her overwhelming sadness. My mom didn’t talk about those things. As with most men and women in her era, my mom learned to be silent, to deal with her hurts and pain in silence.

My mom taught me that same strategy. Now that I know better, I don’t blame my mom for teaching me to deal with my difficulties in silence. She taught me what she was taught and what she knew. I don’t believe for one second that she knew or understood the ultimate toll living in silence would have on my overall being. Yet, once I found my voice, I found my power. Once I learned and understood that the power of my voice would help me to stop the guilty and iniquity of the fathers (and mothers) from visiting my children and my children’s children.

I have the power to stop generational negativity and curses from continuing to run rampant through my family.  By using my voice, I can empower my children. By listening, I can learn how to do things differently and in a more positive way so that my children don’t have to carry the silent, negative burdens of those who came before him.

Silent no more…:)

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

Dream BIG! Always!


For someone to say, “never give up on your dreams”, for many, is easier said than done.  As a young adult, I can remember thinking that one day I’d like to own my own business.  At the time I considered opening a home for young, single mothers.  A place where they could not only have shelter but a place to find the resources they needed to take care of their children and become self-sufficient.

As a teen mom, all I could do was dream because I had a child of my own to care for.  Even back then I understood the importance of having an education.  I knew that it would be the key I needed to change my circumstances and no matter what dreams I had, current or in the future, it would help me reach those dreams.  Although my dreams, at the time, came second to raising my son, I refused to give them up.  Somehow, I always knew that there was something better out in the world for me.

Our life experiences can often detour us for longer periods of time than we’d like.  Life’s more pressing priorities can sometimes take over and dreams can change but no matter where life takes you, don’t stop dreaming.  Find that one thing you are passionate about, that one thing you’d do even if no one paid you to do it, find it and let it drive you toward your success.

Over a year ago, I started out on an entrepreneurial journey.  Many said that I wouldn’t be able to do it.  That I was too old and should stick to teaching since it was a good, stable job.  When I shared my idea with friends and family I initially got some support.  However, when things weren’t progressing fast enough for them to see my dream come alive, their support began to fade.  To them, it was just a pipe dream I should give up but for me this is everything I am.  I am a dreamer and a fighter.  Challenges are what I overcome.

I struggle a little sometimes too.  All I want is for the little vision in my head to be out for the world to see.  I knew nothing about a business plans, investors, site locations, engineers, budgets or bank loans.  But I’m learning.  With each step, I’m learning and with each new challenge, I’m growing.  I’m certain that had I had a good amount of money sitting in the bank, I probably could have had this thing up and running by now but on a teacher’s salary, I’m coming to understand that things like this take time.

And although I would love to quit my job to take on this project full time because I know without a doubt that I can do this, I also know that without proper planning I’ll be homeless inside of two months!  Now, we definitely can’t have that.

So, stay focused and don’t give up.  Do something each day, no matter how big or how small, toward your dream.

Replace any and all negative self-talk with something positive.  I find myself thinking that at my age, I am too old to even consider starting a business.  By the time I get it going good I won’t have long to enjoy it or it won’t work at all and I will spend my latter years working at Walmart.  I wrote down the names and ages of people who started their journey toward success at or after the age of 40.   I made a few copies and put one in my lesson plan book, inside the book I’m currently reading, on my dream board and my bathroom mirror.  I read through this list whenever negativity creeps into my thoughts.  Seeing it every day helps to remind me that I am strong.  I truly believe the universe is conspiring to make my dreams come true.

To quit is not an option…🙂

Reading Goals

Being an avid reader I always tend to set very lofty reading goals each year.  This year, my goal is to read twenty-four books.  While reading is a passion, I am very busy working two jobs and starting an entrepreneurial journey.  So, I know that in order to reach my reading goal I will have to utilize each and every free moment I can find.

So far, I am off to a good start!  I just finished reading, I Am Malala.  One down, twenty-three to go!  This book was simply amazing.  I find inspiration for choosing books to read from various places.  This one, I found through my son.  He needed to complete a book report and his teacher had given him a list of books to choose from.  He chose, I Am Malala.  I decided to purchase two books so that I could read along with him and support his learning.

From the moment I began reading this book, I knew, no matter how long it took, I was reading it to the end.  I truly enjoyed how much she spoke of the importance of her education and the importance of an education for all girls and boys.

Growing up,  I knew that my education was the one thing that would take me where I wanted to go.  I wasn’t the best student but I worked hard, listened to my teachers and tried to absorb as much as I could.  I get a little frustrated when I read articles or posts that talk about education being a waste of time or that going to school is not going to give you every thing you need.  Granted, school isn’t going to teach you everything. It may teach your things you are not interested in or things you may never use again but how will we know what interests us, what we may or may not like if we are not exposed to various things?  I would definitely have to disagree that it is a waste of time.  To me, education is a gateway to options.

I am always telling my own children that we must honor those who paved the way for us.  Our education was not free.  Many people sacrificed their time and their lives so that I, we, could enjoy the education freedoms we have today.  In reading, I Am Malala, I was truly reminded of the importance of my own education.  I was struck by Malala’s passion and desire to see that all young girls and boys have an education that will allow them to reach their full potential.  What struck me most was that even when she was literally faced with the threat of death, she continued to go to school and to speak out about the importance of young girls having the opportunity to get an education.

This is definitely a book I would recommend.

I give it five stars…:)


Holiday Spirit

By a very generous stroke of luck, I had the house all to myself today.  As I sat on the couch watching television, I listened to this guy share that one of the reasons he loved his wife was because the way she viewed the world was unlike anything he’d ever seen or experienced.  He described how his wife simply loved people, saw the best in everyone and always wanted to help whoever and wherever she could.  He stated that he often wished he could see the world from her eyes.  The wife explained that she was a glass half full type person and made a conscience effort to be positive because she enjoys seeing people be their best selves.

Their conversation reminded me of the many conversations I have with my love.  He and the kids often tell me how different I am and that most people don’t think or view the world the way I do.  Whenever we have family discussions, I am usually the odd woman out.  I’ve always known that my way of thinking, speaking and being is rather different from what is considered the norm in my culture but there is just something in me that wants the best for every person I meet.  I feel that no matter the situation, there is a win-win solution for everyone involved.  Although it can be a tough job most days,  I often feel it is my purpose to love others, to find and make peace, to simply be kind.  I don’t seek attention or acknowledgement, I simply hope that by loving or being kind to someone, they will in turn love or be kind to someone else.

Today is Christmas and I spent the day basking in the quiet of an empty house.  My love and the kids are visiting their family.  I spent time with my family yesterday.  So today was about relaxing and counting my many blessings.  Earlier this afternoon I decided to open some of the cards I received from coworkers and I came across one that made me pause.   You never know how showing kindness or sharing a positive word will impact someone.  There is more than enough negativity and tragedy happening in this world, I don’t need to add to it.  I will be sharing this card with my kids when they get back so that they will know that it is very true that what you put out you will get back.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year…:)











Being Mimi

When Saleem was about four or five years old I can remember, people always asking, “do you want any more kids” or “when are you having another one?”  My response was always the same, “if God wants me to have some, he better send me a man with some because I’m not having anymore!”  It was a joke to me until Saleem was about ten or eleven and I decided that I really wanted to have another child.  Around that time I’d met my love.  Although he already had five, we thought we’d try for one more or maybe two since he was a twin and twins were known to run in his family.  Either way, we would be happy with what ever God decided to bless us with.

Unfortunately, we were not prepared for the news we’d receive a few months later.  Turns out, I had uterine fibroids and my doctors doubted that I’d ever be able to have another child.  Under my doctors’ care, I decided to put off having surgery in order to try to get pregnant one more time.  After about eight months, I had not gotten pregnant but my fibroids had grown so large they were pressing on other vital organs.  My doctor was afraid my kidneys would be dangerously affected.  When tests revealed just how much damage my fibroids were doing to my body, my doctor gave me two weeks to get things in order so that he could perform my hysterectomy.

The day I left my doctor’s office was one of the saddest days.  Not only was I faced with not being able to have another child but I struggled with having to have such a major surgery at thirty-two years old.  Needless to say, the days leading up to the surgery were some of the most difficult.  I didn’t want my parents or Saleem to worry about me so I put on a brave face, said the most positive things when anyone asked how I was doing and tried not to cry.

The surgery went well.  I recovered with good friends, family and my love taking care of me.  I returned to work and life moved on.  At the time, only three of my love’s children lived in the area and we were able to see them regularly.  So between his three and Saleem, we were often pretty busy having family movie nights, vacationing in some small town in Florida none of us had ever heard of and hanging out with the kids at one of their extracurricular events.

Time seems to have flown by.  The picture above is of me and who I refer to as “The Last of the Mohicans.”  These are my love’s youngest two…the twins and the last two at home.  They were three years old when their dad and I met.  I was blessed to be Saleem’s mom and to be apart of his everyday life and upbringing.  Even though God decided that having another child was not in the cards for me, I have been truly blessed to be Mimi to my love’s kids, especially these two.  I have been blessed to share in many firsts with the twins…their first day of kindergarten, their first day of middle school, their first day learning to drive, their first “unofficial” date and today, their first day at their first job.  In a few years, we will be dropping them off at their first day of college.

Prior to gaining full custody of the twins and their older sister almost four years ago, my love and I were weekend parents along with giving as much support during the week as needed.  Granted our lives have changed quite a bit now that the kids are with us full time and I must admit, I was not at all prepared as Saleem was out on his own by then.  I was enjoying being a semi-empty nester.  I understand now that even though all those years ago I joked about God sending me a man with kids, He has actually answered my prayers.  I am so grateful to have had this time with them.


Be careful what you ask for…:)

Up Next

When I decided to become an educator some fifteen or sixteen years ago, I was well aware that I would not be in it to make money.  As long as I could support myself and my son, I figured I would be okay.  It’s not like I took a vow of poverty but on a teacher’s salary, I might as well have.  I make what most would say is a “livable” wage and truth be told, I do okay.  I am able to pay my bills, feed myself and put gas in my car.  Unfortunately, after all that, there is not much left over to do many of the things I truly enjoy like taking yoga classes, having my hair professionally done or visiting my grandson as often as I’d like.  Don’t get me wrong, I can do those things but not without a plan and putting a little money aside each pay period until I have enough.

This summer, while I do save for summer break, I decided to find a part time job as well to add a little extra cushion to my financial bucket to reduce some of the stress of always being close to the end of my money each month during the school year.  At the end of the summer I made the decision to keep my part time job.  The extra money is great but I must say that I am definitely tired.  Many of my friends and family argue that as a professional with a master’s degree, there is no way I should have to work two jobs.  Well, I totally agree.  My love and I definitely live below our means.  We make every effort to save more than we spend.  My love does the grocery shopping and recently he came home and said, “did you know the price of bananas has gone from forty-nine cent a pound to seventy-nine cent a pound?  Our paychecks stay the same but prices all around us are going up.”  This is so true.  While we are doing our best to simply maintain our household, we are spending more on things like gas and food.

When I was in my twenties and working to finish my first degree, I dreamed of owning a home.  I kind of pushed that dream to the back of my mind once I became a teacher.  Being a teacher didn’t really allow me to save the kind of money I’d need to purchase a house.  All I wanted to do was make sure my child was fed, that he had a roof over his head and that the power stayed on.  About five years ago when I decided that I wanted to bring that dream to light, I asked questions, did research and found that I could actually make my dream a reality.  I became a home owner in June of 2016.

Last year, while out of town visiting my love’s family for the Christmas holidays I had the opportunity to chat with my father-in-law at one of his stores.  I joked that he should open a store in my area so that I could quit teaching and come work for him as I was certain to make more money.  We laughed and then he said, “why don’t you open your own business? What is it you like to do?”  My response, “Teach! That’s what I know and that’s what I’m good at.”  Besides owning a home, I also dreamed of owning my own business.  Again, that idea was pushed to the back of my mind as I thought there is no way I could do that on a teacher’s salary.  I went through all the reason’s I couldn’t do it.  I shared my conversation with my father-in-law with one of my best friend’s who happens to be a very successful event planner.  She started her business from scratch and as she patiently listened to me list all of the reasons why there was no way I could start my own business she simply said to me, “why not?”

I have spent the better part of the last ten months doing the very thing I did when I decided to buy a home, I asked questions, researched all I could and found that I might actually be able to turn this dream into a reality.  In my research I came across the Women’s Business Centre of Tampa Bay.  The women there were more than happy to answer any and all of my questions.  They helped me to make connections with the women at the non-profit, Enterprising Latins.  The bridge to owing my own business is being build with each and every connection I make.  Along the way, my love and my best friends have been encouraging me with each step.  While conducting research, I came across a business conference being held in Dallas, TX.  From the website information and reviews, it looked like a great opportunity for business owners and I said to myself, “if I get my business up and running, this would be a great way for me to learn more.”  Once again, sharing what I’d found with my friend, she asked, “why not go and get all of the information now so that you are a little bit ahead of the game.”  When I told her the cost and that there was no way I’d be able to afford it, her response was, “see of they have a payment plan.”  Of course, she was right…they had a payment plan.

As I am writing this post I am sitting at the Dallas Love Field airport on my way home from the conference.  I arrived here on Wednesday to attend the Thursday through Saturday sessions.  This was probably the best thing I could have let her talk me into doing.  I was able to network and hear from some of the best in the business.  When I shared my business idea with attendees and told them that I hadn’t yet opened the doors on my business, they jumped at the opportunity to share all that they knew, things I needed to do, the order I needed to do them in and what to look out for. They were so encouraging and positive that I want to go home, apply for a business loan Monday morning and open doors on Tuesday.  Although I am very aware that there are still a few steps left to complete in my plan, I think this conference gave me even more courage to step out of my comfort zone one more time to make this dream happen.  If God did it before, I am most certain He can do it again.  I am the one who has to let go of the fear and simply rely on the faith I keep saying I have.

Never let go of your dreams…:>