Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 : lessons learned

As are the many years that have past, 2009 contained numerous life lessons. No matter which phase of life a person finds themselves in a lesson of some sort can always be learned.

I tried to think of the experiences that I went through in 2009 and decided that it was too emotional /dark to share in a way that my readers would appreciate. 2009 was not my best year, but it wasn't my worst year either. It was an emotional and mental roller coaster ride of epic proportions. Filled with highs and lows that are bound to change me for the better, in ways that I look forward to.

So instead of putting together my own list of lessons learned, I compiled a list from others. Friends and family and a couple of my own. I am thankful to those folks that participated in my little survey, it was a lot more interesting than my own.

9 Lessons learned/Realized in '09
#1 " I learned that finding a job ain't easy "- A.B.
#2 " Debt is a burden and a distraction, and rekindling old friendships make you realize how awesome friends can be" - N.H.
#3 " I learned that trying new and different things aren't as hard as you think once you make the first step toward it." - E.B.
#4 " True friends are REALLY true friends, the rest are just posers." - S.H.
#5 " Just because someone is talking to you about their problems doesn't mean they want help. Sometimes people just need to vent" - V.B.
#6 " Do what you believe and don't worry about other peoples oppinions! " - E.C.
#7 " Depression is real and can effect anyone, don't wait until it is too late to get help" - S.H.
#8 "Money doesn't always make you happy. It's essential but not worth sacrificing friends and family. Living simple will make you happy." - L.B.
#9 "This economy sucks!" - D.S.

So, that was what we learned in '09, could you relate? I'm wondering what lessons we will be blessed to learn in 2010?

Monday, December 28, 2009

One Simple Act

Walking into a store a man OR woman decides to hold the door open for you. An older woman is walking who needs assistance is approached by a young boy to steady her steps. Giving a listening ear to a friend in need. Providing a day of babysitting for a single parent or stay at home mom free of charge, so they can have a break. Giving a donation to someone in need. What do all of these situations have in common? They are all simple acts of kindness. Simple acts of thoughtfulness and generosity. Although simple, they are powerful.

It's all about paying it forward. We are living in a society where there is so much selfishness and individualism. Each one forgetting about the needs of their fellow man/woman, not realizing that kindness begets kindness and would really make the world a better place. Human lives are all intertwined where one good or bad deed can and will create a domino effect. However how much more fulfilling and satisfying is it when you know that YOUR good deed created a chain of happiness to others? Releasing wonderful endorphins into the atmosphere...sigh.

Recently I had the privilege of participating in the McHappy Day at McDonald's. This enlightening experience gave my children and I an opportunity to learn about McDonald's support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. Along with other bloggers we were able to work behind the counter and the drive through of a Decatur, Ga McDonald's, owned and operated by a very enthusiastic and passionate Carrie Salone. While being McDonald's employees for a while we had the opportunity to ask the customers to give a hand by donating a $1.00 to the RMHC. One dollar is all that was asked of each customer, one SIMPLE dollar. Small, yet powerful because each dollar donated went to help a sick child in need at the Ronald McDonald House. Providing a comfortable, healthy, beautiful and often times FREE accommodations for those experiencing the hardship of treating a serious illness.

After we were done working we were taken on a tour of the actual Ronald McDonald house in Atlanta. Let me just say I was completely imressed and touched by the care, consideration and love that it took to build this wonderful facility. It is equipped with a state of the art kitchen area. Several living rooms, perfect for reflecting, reading playing games or watching television. I was excited to see a very large laundry area and a library equipped with Internet and computers to make the residents feel as if they were in the comforts of their own home. The design of each room was carefully thought through, each room has a special filtering system to keep the air as clean as possible to prevent further illness to the children with sensitive immune systems. In fact, this particular house is the only Eco friendly house available. Leading the way for more to come, I'm sure.

We were able to hear testimonies from a few families who have benefited from this charity and believe me when I say it was moving. My eyes were certainly opened and I have to admit that I inwardly felt shame. Shame, because I have been to McDonald's and seen the donation boxes for the RMHC and dismissed it as some sort of scam not really knowing or believing that my simple act of dropping in some change would really go to such a worthy cause. However, now that I have seen for myself first hand what those small donations can do for these children and their families I will be a supporter. Even in such a small way as dropping in a few coins when purchasing my meals.

How else can you and I help? I know you want to know... Well, other than dropping in a few coins, food can be donated to the RMHC as well as books, toys or games for the residents. So what simple acts can you do? Some one needs a day it may be you, it may be me.

Here is a link to the pictures that was taken of our enlightening day;

*To read more about doing simple acts read this great book by Debbie Macombes, One simple act.*

*For information about the Ronald McDonald House Charities go to and

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keep it moving people, theres nothing to see.

Picture this; you're in a local super store shopping with your husband and new baby. Little baby is beginning to get a little agitated, a little bit squirmy. Soon it turns into full blown frustration and screaming. Realizing it's nursing time, there is no seating for a nursing mother in the restrooms and you are not about to run through the store and parking lot to sit in the car. With no other options you DISCREETLY place the infant to your breast to satisfy it's hunger.

That should be the end of it right? Well this how things began in a Harper Woods, Detroit area Target. However it wasn't a nice ending. Mary Martinez and her husband Jose was told to leave the store by security because the act of breastfeading was against the law. Jose , who is a Detroit police officer refuted this allegation but it was not enough. The couple were escorted out of the store by the Police.

What a shame! Breastfeeding is one of the most natural acts of love and care beween a mother and her infant. Who should think it a crime? I have been in that womans shoes, it is not easy. I breastfed both of my babies. Sometimes not in the most desirous places, But I did what was very necessary, DISCREETLY of course. Is a mother to be blamed or even punished because there are not enough facilities created in public restrooms that cater to mothers. Trust me, No One wants to stand up nursing a crying baby in an aisle. But it sure beats standing in a stinky bathroom with no where to sit besides a germ infested toilet. Yuck!

Breastfeeding is not nasty, or pornographic and people should not feel as though they have to "protect" themselves. Come on people! There are more important things to "protect" ourselves and children from. So, if you happen to go down the aisle and see a woman nursing DISCREETLY, don't be disgusted. Show respect, turn your head and have empathy. She's doing what she has to do for her child. There are parents doing far worse things to their children in stores. Report a real crime...Breastfeeding isn't one of them.

I aint sceeeered

"Hey, check out CNN, those little toys you gave us are poisonous." That was how our Sunday morning began. A 8:00 a.m. distress phone call.

So naturally our curiosity was peaked. Of course, our children each owned a Zhu Zhu pet and we had given some as gifts to friends and family. We needed to see what this was all about. We read the article and basically felt that what was written by Good Guide regarding the pets containing a deadly metal called antimony was not enough to make me throw it out. Not yet. I decided to Wait it out, hear both sides of the story BEFORE formulating my oppinion. Therefore I can make an Informed decision as to what to do with Mr. Squiggles.

As it turned out, the toxicity accusations were false. Mr. Squiggles is completely safe. The U.S. Toy Industry criticised Good Guide for their reliance on XRF readings. Obviously there is a more complex procedure to follow in order to make an accurate conclusion. I was pleased to read the statement released by Cepia LLC regarding the beloved Zhu Zhu pets: " Our products not only meet but exceed all safety testing...we are a family owned business and always test to the most rigorous standards."

With that said, parents should rest a little easier knowing that Mr. Squiggles, Pipsqueak,NumNum, Chunk & Patches are not really disease carrying rodents. They are still the cute, cuddly motorized pets that children adore and parents like better than a REAL hampster. Currently, in stores there is even more variety, because four new pets have been released. Check your local Walmart or other retail store for the newest additions: Winkie, Jitty, Nuggut and Scoodles. Each one with it's own Bio.

So let this be a lesson, Dont jump on the bandwagon without all the facts. I have a feeling that plenty of good pets were thrown in the dumpster that Sunday morning...destroyed without even having a fair trial.

For more information go to

*As a promoton for the new toys several months ago, I was provided with the pets to share with family and firends. However, the statements made in this post are srictly my own non-biased oppinion*

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What once was, is no more

Well, well, here it is the end of week two. The first week of my recovery, as you may recall was blissful. The second week? Lets just say the first week has a level that is historic in my book.

This week I have a multitude of laundry scattered and stacked all over the place, although clean I may add. My husband does not seem to highly value the efficiency of putting the clothes away. My children's rooms are a complete disaster, & my dog is running a muck. My Hubby still gives me kisses, but my pillows have gone flat. My son still brews my coffee alongside my daughter who preps my breakfast. However, the hour that I have to wait for it, makes eating the cold meal less than desirable. I continue to eat my favorite snacks for comfort, which leads me fearful wondering if my designer jeans will fit later on.

Sigh! One more week to go. Will I make it? And if I do, will all my rest be in vain because of the exhausting work I may have to do to get my house back in order?

Any suggestions? Better yet...any volunteers?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Moms of Hue, an awesome collaboration

Often times as a woman of color, when surfing the web or reading blogs I come across topics that are thought provoking and heart stirring. Although well written it is not always written from the view of women like me. Although women in general share a certain commonality, one cannot deny the differences, viewpoints and oppinions shared by the various groups of women.

As an african american woman I face challenges in marriage, parenting, & education among others that are not the same as all of my professional or personal peers. Which is why I am happy to know that there is a new blogsite being launched today which focuses on the issues that matter the most to me. Discussed in a way that is most familiar to me.

Moms of Hue is a collaborated site created by Renee J. Ross of and Kristina of . These ladies are mothers, wives and entrepreneurs using their voices and skills to make a difference for all women of color. Please stop by the new site today, as today is it's official launch. Follow them on twitter @momsofhue and get invovled with their twitter party to celebrate their offical site launch. Prizes will be given away, so come on and join in the fun!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Is that for me?

Any time I receive a gift I am always touched and warmed at the heart. So very pleased that the giver thought enough of me to provide it. Just about any gift is a cause for gratitude because it's the thought that counts right? Right. Well, except for that one time when I received...Oh, never mind! Like I said, I'm grateful no matter what.

As much as I enjoy being a receiver, I also like to be the giver of gifts. There is 100% truth in the memorable phrase "more happness in giving than receiving." I especially find joy in watching a person's facial expression as they are viewing their gift for the first time. Priceless.

It is my oppinion however, that the best gifts are the hand made or ones that have a personal touch. While in recovery I have been given several gifts. Each one meaningful in it's own way. Friends and family have given me homemade soups, made a pan of my favorite dish, babysitting, even some house cleaning. SO cool, I know.

But the one gift that goes to the top of my list is my B.G. Goody bag. aka the broke girlfriends goody bag. Hilariously sweet and good hearted. My bf came over and brought this to me. Obviously it is easy on the purse. But it was the personal touch and thoughtfulness that shot it to the top of my list. My B.G. Goody bag was full of things that I love. DVD's for me to watch, taken from her personal collection. All the great ones that I love. Two great novels, along with a variety of herbal teas and a new journal for my writing pleasure. She had to put some thought into what I liked in order to create a gift with such a personal touch. It meant so much to me. Simple yet personal, Hmmmmm... warm fuzzies.

The next time you have the privelege of bringing someone a gift, make it personal. Give it your special touch, it makes the biggest impression.
Here are a few tips:
* type or write a poem of your own or from a favorite poet. Apply it to nice paper and put it in a frame.
* Create your own bottle of body oil and spritzer complete with a personalized label.
* find websites that specialize in personal gifts, such as or
*have fun, use your imagination.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Just what the Doctor ordered

The Doctor gave strict orders as I was discharged from the hospital. No lifting, no pushing or pulling of any objects. Complete bedrest for about 2-3 weeks. How's that been going? Well, here's what I've been dealing with for the past 7 days.

In the a.m. my son brews my coffee just the way I like, while my daughter places frozen waffles in the toaster and cooks my bacon not too crispy. My Hubby comes home from work in the p.m., does the laundry, cleans the kitchen, puts dinner on and brings it to my bedside with a smile and a kiss. "Do you need anything else?" Once I have completed our homeschooling lessons for the day, my only care is: which of my favorite movies do I want to watch? Catching up on t.v. reruns, reading great books & journaling. At the end of the night my sheets get retucked, pillows are fluffed and comforter is smoothed out.
Mmmmmm, Mmmmmm!!
A sistah can get used to this. I wonder if I can get a Doctor's note for an extension on my recovery time? This is like the best staycation I ever had! Too bad I had to lose a body organ to experience it.

Just sayin'

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Honey, you're fired!

He says that he can do it all by himself, he no longer needs my assistance. After years of watching me, he is ready to experience it for his self. No I'm not talking about my son. He is not the one cutting the apron strings. The culprit in this case is my husband. For the 16 years that we have been married I have always been the accountant of our establishment. Using various budget systems & a little juggling to cover the bases. I cant say that I was perfect, but I did my job.

So imagine my shock when he approached me with his new idea. He might as well have handed me a pink slip, because I 'sho felt like I was fired! After I was done pouting, he assured me that the changes aren't "personal"...*insert eye roll*. He said it was apart of his growth and maturity as a man. Wow.

I continued to dwell on the heartfelt words he spoke to me & concluded that this may not be such a bad idea after all. I've heard the phrase "how you view a situation is how you react to it. " Perhaps I had a blurred view of the situation. I realized that in my own way I linked my responsibility of the finances with control. It's no wonder then, why I felt dethroned as he is reaching for greater responsibility. I began to view this new change in a positive light. Realizing that it could be a good thing.

I reminded myself that marraige is a partnership and no one should be in control of the other and certainly no one should be a servant. Good marraiges blossom under communication, cooperation and encouragement. There should be a balance.

Women (myself included) are often heard complaining about the irresponsibility in men. Wishing that a man would be a "real man". However, in some cases is it possible that today's modern women are actually preventing this ? For years, fighting for equal rights. Proving more and more that she can do the same jobs as he, and even better. I feel that this causes some men to sit back, leaving them unsure of how to fullfill their roles. Not wanting to appear non-progressive. Women want men to be men traditionally, but often try to controll the areas that they can do it.

Now I am aware that this not the case in every situation. Realisticly there are many women playing dual roles because they have to. So when a man who can and is willing to carry a heavier load gets involved , the woman continue to tightly hold the reigns. Because it may feel almost unnatural. This is the category that I find myself in. I come from a family, who for generations have been held together by women due to a lack of positive male headship. I've always seen women in charge, even in the presence of a man. These were unspoken lessons being taught, indeed.

As I reflect on the past I do not want to continue on in the pattern of the women before me. Carrying an unbalanced load, doing it all. As long as I have some one willing to share more of the responsibility I certainly don't need to block it. Marraige is about trust, not only in monagomy but also in money.

I've lived the first 16 years of my marraige with some control issues. For the next 16 I plan on letting them go. I'll admit there will be some bumpy roads ahead, but I'm looking forward to a great learning experience. I am offering up prayers as I type this...