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…:)

 

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…:)

 

 

 

 

 

The Lives of Boys

If you know me, then you know I love to read. The more I read, the more I learn and the more I grow. Learning and growing are two of my favorite things to do. I think it is just a waste to be on this earth, living this life and never growing.  There is so much freedom in this life especially, in this country.  We shouldn’t waste it.

Somehow, in a recent morning quiet time I began reading the book of Revelation.  Not sure how that came to be but I learned quite a bit.  Growing up, my grandmother would always tell us how life simply repeated itself because people don’t learn from their mistakes or from the situations of those who came before them.  As I began reading Chapter 12 in Revelation, I was reminded of my grandmothers’ words.  Reading this chapter taught me about the strength of women and the struggle that will forever haunt young boys who, without proper guidance, will become men under attack.

From reading this particular chapter in the bible, I thought about my own life and the lives of the boys I raised.  When my love and I met, he had three boys and I had one.  So, I had the pleasure of raising four boys.  Saleem is now 25, DJ is 24, Jaylen is 21 and James is 15.  Our two oldest are out on their own, Jaylen is doing well in college and the baby, James, is still at home giving us a run for our money.  All of our boys are the sweetest, kindest human-beings I know.  After reading Revelation, I think there is one area where we may have failed them.  While we made every attempt to raise them to be respectful, thankful, grateful and to treat others as they wanted to be treated, I think we failed to teach them the undeniable power that they held within.

Yes, we took them to church, prayed with them and talked to them about developing a relationship with God, however, we didn’t tell them the story about how they’d be attacked on every side through no fault of their own.  We didn’t know to tell that that the attacks they’d face were due to the power and strength they possessed to stand as the kings they were born to be.  Our boys were born to be fighters, to stand up for what is right and to be examples of God on earth.  When we know better, we do better.  It’s never too late to turn and that is just what I intend to do.  I will work to remind my boys that they are true kings of God and within them, God has placed all they need to fight against any darkness that is meant to take them down.

 

Standing strong…:)

Summer Closing 2018

Seems like this summer has flown by!  As an educator I am often asked this question nearly all summer long, “are you ready to go back?”  I really don’t like that question.  Even when I’m not at school, I’m working.  Even though I decided to take a summer job at a department store and tutor the grandson of a friend of mine, I have also been meeting and planning with my team so that we are prepared when school actually goes back into session.  For most educators, not working all summer long is not an option.  We squeeze in some fun time with the family and maybe a vacation but a lot of us are planning, in trainings and preparing for the upcoming year.

I didn’t get an actually vacation this year but I did have some fun with my family, enjoyed my son and grandson for two weeks, and I even got to sleep in some days.  The best part of my summer was having lunch or dinner with friends I don’t often get to catch up with during the school year.

In an effort to get some cleaning and organizing done around the house, I finally got a chance to start working on the garage.  I got about half done when I came across a box that my aunt sent me over a year ago.  She’d been holding on to it since my mother passed away a few years ago.  I attempted to go through it when I first got it but didn’t get very far.  Although it was still very hard, I’m glad I was able to do it now.  After my mother passed away, I wasn’t able to have anything that belonged to her and that made me really sad.  However, while going through her box, I came across an old driver license and her last pastport.  It was awesome!  It may not sound like much but for me, to be able to have just those two things of hers meant the world to me.  To go from growing up in a house that reflected our family history to having it all lost after my mother’s death was very devastating for me.  Not only did I lose her but I lost many things that meant a lot to me and my parents.

I didn’t get to finish the other half of the garage but with about six more days of summer break left, my goal is to rest, rest, rest!  Goodness knows I’m going to need it!  I am looking forward to another successful school year.  I will have a new team this year which will be absolutely no problem for me because I am a serious social butterfly!  Meeting and getting to know new people is one of my favorite things to do.  I’m looking forward to seeing my students, coworkers and getting back to my routine.  This is going to be a great school year!

 

Give, live and enjoy…🙂

 

 

Talk the Talk

Consider this…we can’t create an actual universe with our words, but we can use them to build up or destroy someone else’s world.

I came across this little nugget during my quiet time reading recently and almost immediately shared it on my Facebook page because I thought it was so simple but yet so true.  We have so much power in our words that life and the world would be a much better place if we knew how to use them in a positive way.

When I was younger, I like any other kid, loved watching television.  My favorite part was the commercials.  Back in the day almost every product/ad was promoted through a jingle.  The jingle would get stuck in your head and you’d be singing that thing for the rest of the week!  As I was growing, I had a plan to go off to college and get a degree that would help me to be able to make commercials.  Well, I did go to college and I got a degree but life led me down a different path.

Today, television is the last thing I want to sit down and watch.  I still enjoy a good commercial however, with news programs, tv series and made for tv movies taking such a dark and negative turn, I rarely turn on the television anymore.  If it were solely up to me, I’d toss out every television in the house.

I find it increasingly difficult to expend positive energy to my family and friends or even those I simply run into each day when we, this world, is surrounded in so much negativity.  I feel for my kids the most.  In this age of instant “Likes” and instant posts so that the world knows your every move, my kids are bombarded with instant comments about everything.  And I feel that this is desensitizing them to simple compassion.  It amazes me that everyone has an opinion about everything but what saddens me most is that even in the most positive postings, articles or news reports someone will find a way to turn it into a negative.  You can’t read a post or article about anything where someone hasn’t found a way to make a negative or hurtful comment.  My love gets so frustrated with me because I try to find a positive in all that I do and say.  I am by no means perfect and even though it is hard and often times challenging, I’d much rather find a way to show love and compassion to someone than to be mean and say something negative or hurtful.

What I feel we, as a society, are losing most is our ability to be compassionate.  1 Peter 4: 9-10 says “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.  Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  To me that simply means to love one another, to have compassion and respect for my fellow man (woman) and to be compassionate.

Every day, in every situation, find a way to share grace…:)

 

 

The Importance of Sisterhood

I was very lucky to find a great friend early in life.  She is usually the first person I call when anything happens in my life.  Currently, we live on opposite sides of the country, she’s in California and I’m in Florida.  We met at church when we were about nine or ten years old.  We are the same age, our birthday’s are on the same day, different months (she’s in December, I’m in September), and we were born at the same hospital.  To say that we were meant to be is an understatement for us.  I only get to see her once a year but for us nothing has changed except a plane ride.

Over the years I’ve tried to form bonds with other girls/women but the friendships never seemed to connect well.  I think it’s mostly because of me though.  I’ve had some really bad friendships with some who claimed to be a friend but ended up doing or saying something that caused me to not trust them and to pull away.  I learned to keep my circle of friends very small.  Basically, it was just my friend Swayla and my sister.

Recently, I’ve come to understand that creating a sisterhood can be very important in a women’s life.  A sisterhood, community of women, can help to strengthen one other when a safe place can be created that allows women to openly and honestly share with one another.  Two weeks ago I was invited to a gathering at coworker’s house.  While she and I do talk periodically by phone, we don’t hang out or meet up regularly.  I am not one to attend too many get-togethers because I don’t want to open myself up to false friendships.  However, I wanted to support my coworker who was hosting because I find her to be very kind and genuine.

Surprisingly, I had a very nice time.  What stood out to me most that afternoon was the story my coworker told about a group of women she recently began working out with.  At a stressful point in her life, my coworker decided that she wanted to start working out to clear her mind and relieve stress.  After some research, she came across this group of women who met to work out together.  In this group, they not only support one another during work outs but have created a sisterhood to support one another inside and outside of the gym.  They support each others goals, hold one another accountable and regularly meet up to personally check in.

Through her story I learned three important aspect of building trusting, lasting friendships.

First, to find a friend, one must show themselves as a friend.

Second, connect with like-minded people.

Third, don’t be afraid to share your story because God didn’t intent for us to walk this journey alone.

As I have continued to read Craving Connection, I have learned what it means to be a friend and also how silence about my pain and struggles can sometimes push me into isolation and make me fearful of letting others in.  While I am not suggesting that you go out and blab your business to everyone in order to find friends but start small.  Look around the outer ring of your current circle of friends.  See if there is one or two women you could possible have a deeper connection with.  Invite them to lunch or coffee and hang out.  The more you are around them the more you may feel comfortable and this may help you to open up more.  Some friendships may simply be general and pleasant from a distance and that’s ok.  The overall goal is to not isolate yourself to the point where you are not reaching out or growing to your full potential.  Work on developing relationships that will stretch, support and encourage you.

 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou