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…🙂

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…:)

Forty-Five

Recently, I had a birthday and I turned forty-five.  Seems kind of crazy that that much time has passed in my life.  This years’ birthday was a little hard for me.  Not because of my age since I knew it was coming, but for some reason I haven’t figured out yet, I spent A LOT of time reflecting.  I thought about all that I have accomplished in these forty-five years.  I spent time thinking about the decisions and choices I’ve made that have not produced the fruit I’d hoped for.  My parents came to mind a lot.  I miss them everyday.  Even though I know they were proud of me and that we were solid when they left this earth, there is still so much I’ve done since their passing that I wish they could have been able to witness and be a part of.

I was what some would call a late bloomer.  A few incidences beyond my control detoured my path.  While many of my friends were in college, I was a working single mom taking classes when I could.  When they finished four years later I was still plugging along, one class at a time and raising my son. There are times when I feel that I should be further along in my life than I am currently then I remember that my plans aren’t always God’s plan for me.  For the most part, I’ve had a good life.  But you don’t get to be this age without a few regrets.  If I could go back, there are a few things I would do differently.  At some of those forks in the road, I  definitely would have chosen a different path.  However, hindsight is always twenty-twenty.  At my age now, I only have one choice to make:  I can dwell on the past and my coulda, shoulda, woulda’s or focus all of my attention and effort on making the second half of my life my best one.  I think I will go with the latter.

My friends think I am much too busy.  For me, there is still so much I want to do and goals I plan to achieve.  I love living my life and I want to get in as many adventures as I possible can.  I know obstacles will come and I have learned that while they slow us down they aren’t stop signs.  Life will sometimes be uncomfortable, frustrating, complicated and often confusing but that’s what makes it worth living.

I am working to change the things about my life that I am not happy with.  Change can be difficult and for me its extremely hard because I don’t like hurting people.  I have this very strange habit of wanting to see the best in others even when they are not so kind to me.  Overall, this has been a very good year and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

Seeing what the future holds…:)

 

 

 

 

 

Angels Among Us

I am not unaware that I am getting older.  Some days I forget my age when my mind tells me, “oh, yeah, we can still do that!”  But then, later on when I’m trying to sit or lay down my body says, “girl, we can’t do that no more!”  However, the older I get I make sure that I listen to my body and do what’s best for it.  I made my brother a promise, when he was battling cancer, that I would take care of myself and not ignore when my body is talking to me.  So, when I ain’t feeling quite right, I go see my doctor.

I happened to be doing a follow up appointment this morning when my day was impacted in a very unexpected but pleasant way.  My appointment was at 8 a.m.  I got up on time, made breakfast for the kids, sent them off to school and went about my normal morning routine.  I had an extra hour since I wasn’t going straight to work so I had breakfast myself and extended my quite time.  Left the house on time, made the forty minute drive to my appointment and the moment I put the car in park I realized that I’d walked out of the house and forgot my doctor’s acquisition order for the test he wanted done.  Not to panic, I thought, maybe the doctor forwarded a copy to the office.  Get in, check in and tell the receptionist about my mishap.  She checks the system and finds no acquisition order.  Our next option, before panic sets in, is to call the doctor’s office and simply have them fax over a copy.  The message on the doctor’s line says that the office is not open until 11 a.m. today.  Now, its time to panic!

Of course, there was no way I’d be able to make the forty minute drive back home to get the papers, make the forty minute drive back to the office (if there was even time to no squeeze me in) and then get to work by 11:20 a.m.  Looking at my face, I think the receptionist could tell that I was starting to get a little anxious.  Thinking quickly, after I told her how far I had to drive to go back home and then return pending traffic, she asked where I lived and then found an office that was closer to my house.  Thankfully, that office agreed to squeeze me in but I had to get there within the hour.  I got home, grabbed the papers, made it to the office within the hour, checked in and sat down to wait my turn.

As to not let my anxiety to continue to rise, I decided to Bluetooth a message from Transformation Church on my ride back to the house from my first appointment location.  During this message the pastor referenced a passage of scripture I wanted to read.  Upon sitting at my second appointment I thought I’d take out my bible and read over the scripture while I waited.  As I began to read, I noticed a man of a different nationality watching me.  I thought nothing of it and continued reading.  A few moments later this same man walked over to me and said, “hey, what’cha reading?”  I replied, “the bible” and then told him the scripture I was reading.  He told me that was one of his favorite scriptures and sat down next to me.  He introduced himself and began talking to me about his church and ministry background.  He said that he approached me because he’d never seen anyone reading the bible in public and was glad I was unashamed to do it.

For a split second I thought, “I hope this man is not trying to hit on me because I don’t want to have to be rude.”  As it turns out, he wasn’t he just wanted to have a conversation about God.  We had a very pleasant conversation about God, my kids, his kids, his family, my work and then my name was called to see the receptionist.

The strangest thing happened.  The receptionist told me that the test my doctor ordered couldn’t be performed at that location and that I would have to go to yet a different location.  We rescheduled the appointment for a later date because it was apparent I was not supposed to have that test done today.  On my way out I stopped to thank the man who took the time to come over and talk to me.  When I told him I was at yet the wrong location again he told me that he wasn’t supposed to be there either.  He had been finished with his appointment for about an hour and the friend that was supposed to pick him up was running late.  He then shared a scripture with me, quietly prayed over me and sent me on my way with a hug.  Of course we got funny looks from the people in the waiting room because here was this short black lady with crazy natural hair and this tall white man with a bald head and sleeve tattoos on both arms sharing about God, praying and hugging in the waiting room of a medical office.  Talk about angels on earth.

I’ve heard of people having encounters like this but I’d never experienced one myself until today.  It truly made my day.  Just when I thought I was going to have a bad day and stress out over this appointment, God sent this angel to cross my path.  My whole day changed in just a few short minutes.

Trying to let God lead the way…:)

 

Finding My Passion

In my last post I mentioned that one of the things I learned in 2017 is that as an educator, I’m going to need multiple streams of income if I’m going to do more than just survive.  In an effort to begin sourcing these multiple streams of income I thought maybe I’d try out this business idea I had.

While on Christmas Break I had the opportunity to chat with my father-in-law about my idea.  You see, not only is he a very sweet man, he happens to be a very successful business man.  At his urging, when I returned home and I began doing some research on my idea.  I’m certain I sat in front of my computer for two days just fascinated and taking notes on all the information I found.

Then I came across a website, http://www.womensbusinesscentre.org.  This site had a wealth of information to help women.  They encourage women who are in business or thinking about starting a business to come in and take advantage of all the resources they have available.

Among the resources they offer are several on-site training classes and seminars to help women get familiar with the many aspects of running a business.  To get myself familiar with their resources I signed up and attended an Introduction to the Women’s Business Centre class.  I had no idea what I was in for!

In that hour long course, not only did I learn a ton about starting a business, I met some incredible women who were in various stages of their business.  I was very proud to learn from several, young female entrepreneurs who’d simply found something they enjoyed and took a chance on turning their passion into a business.

I so admired these women for their vision and courage.  The hour long session wasn’t enough time to get into their back-stories but from the little I was able to get I was totally inspired.  So here are just a few of the businesses I had the opportunity to get to know that night…

✔onlyherz.com, Clothing Design

✔essentialyouyoga.com, Yoga

✔tbahcare.com, Companion Care

 

Adding my business in 2018…😄

Wedding Fun

I’ve known Ms. Lissahn Devance for nearly twenty years. She and I met when both our children were very young.  Our boys were in kindergarten together.  She and I had both recently moved to the Atlanta area and were trying to figure out this single mom thing.  We met at a Saturday Seminar our kids’ school was hosting.  Somehow we ended up at the same table.  She with her son and daughter, me with my little boy.  At the end of the seminar she needed a ride home. I offered to take her and the rest as they say is history.

Our kids played together. Read together and laughed together. She’d watch Saleem so I could run some errands or study and I watched her kids when she had to work late.  We were in this single mom struggle together and we stuck together for about three years.  I decided to moved back to Florida to be closer to family.  Lissahn stayed in Atlanta.  We talked regularly by phone and I would visit Atlanta whenever I could.  Our kids grew up but she and I were always on a mission to fulfill our dreams.  She received a degree in business and started her own business. I got one in education and started my teaching career.

This past weekend she and I met in Miami.  She was on business as an event planner and I just wanted to see my friend. Over the years I’ve scrolled through her website and blogs just marveling at her beautiful work at various events around the country. On this past Saturday, I got to see her work up close and it literally brought tears to my eyes. The wedding she put together was absolutely amazing! To know where she came from to seeing her doing what she loves just makes my heart happy. I am so very proud of her. I was so happy to be there to help her and to see her walking in her purpose.

Check her out at:
http://www.enrapturedevents.com, on Facebook and Instagram

Dreams do come true…:)

Chapter Twelve – God Calls Us to Wait

Whew…I have made it to the end of this book and therefore the end of this book study!  Yay, me!  I have learned quite a bit along the way.  Although I never intended for this study to last this long, sometimes you have to slow things down a bit to take care of the ones you love.

In all that we have learned during this study about finding our path, hearing God’s voice, understand our personal communication with Him and getting to know Him better, I think that learning to wait helps us to really see God working in our lives.  Sometimes the wait seems like forever but as we have come to know, when God finally responds He does more than we could have ever imagined.

Truth be told, we all continuously find ourselves in a waiting period.  Currently, I am waiting for a job promotion, waiting to purchase my very first home and waiting to get married.  Just waiting.  For me, the hardest part about waiting is that I ain’t getting any younger!  Time is not about to slow down for me and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  In the meantime, however, I am reminded in Galations 6:7-10, not to give up and to work for the good of myself and others.  All the things I’m waiting for will be here soon enough.  I just need to allow God to use this waiting period to get me prepared for when they do arrive…developing my patience.

Be patient and persevere…:)