Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Re: Eddie Long or any one else accused, we must educate, support and love the children.

There is so much talk going on these days regarding the Bishop Eddie Long situation. Everywhere I turn on the news, twitter, facebook and private conversations, his alleged indiscretions are coming up. It seems that people are split right down the line on what he is accused of. They are either believers of his allegations and wish him to be banned from the church or they are playing the devils advocate and acknowledging his alleged wrong doing but emphasizing forgiveness.

My stand point? I'm rather neutral, by nature I am a peace maker. I have been told that I have the ability to stand in the middle of a situation and see clearly both sides. In this case I can't say that I can see both sides ( I tend to only see one side in this case), I think I will just wait for the evidence to be presented in court. The truth will come out then. However, I do have an opinion regarding children and people of position or authority over them.

I feel that parents have got to do a better job of educating their children. Especially since many parents are leaving their children in the care of others i.e. daycare, babysitters, heck even other family members! Often times too, they are encouraged to spend time with fellow worshipers and spiritual leaders (as in the case of Eddie Long's spiritual sons). Of course our children cannot be under us 24/7 but for goodness sakes please teach them how to recognize the signs of a sexual predator!

It is a known fact that the sick minded individuals that are molesting and manipulating children look for certain types. These men and women look for the fatherless, low self esteem, angry, quiet and needy children. Through no fault of their own, they become victims. As parents, guardians, mentors of these children we must teach them to think higher of themselves. To know that it does not matter what a person offers them, they cannot and should not be bought in exchange for inappropriate behaviours. My heart went out to the young man Jamal Parris, when he said that "he loved the Bishop as a father. How he wanted so much to be loved by this person that he was willing to do the things he never thought he would". To know that he and others have been allegedly taken advantage of because of their desperate need for love is what makes me so sad. We must do our best to teach the babies that their love should never have to be bought, and to receive it should never have to hurt.

Often times children and teens will hold in their "secrets" of sexual misconduct because they feel that it will not be believed. We need to do better jobs at reassuring them that they will be believed and that we will have their backs when they come to us. This is not a conversation to be had one or two times. NO! It needs to be had over and over again , because children forget and need constant reassurance. Just like we cannot tell a child that we love them one time and expect them to know and feel it, we cannot have this discussion on sexual misbehavior one time and expect them to follow our advice and come to us immediately if it happens.

I'm not sure who these young men had in their lives, but it bothers me that no one could see the signs of this alleged situation. Are we as parents really seeing our children? Are we also being naive when it comes to various people that we put our children in contact with? When it comes to our children we can never be too safe otherwise we may wind up being sorry. WE must watch, listen and learn our children. To gain their confidence we must look for ways to show them that they can turn to us at any time they feel uncomfortable. The quicker they expose the predator for who and what they are,the less pain & suffering they have to deal with.

The scars that sexual abuse leave are never erased. They may not always be on the surface but underneath the superficial layers it finds ways to remind each victim of it's presence deep inside. As the young man in the interview said, "I will always remember the smell of his cologne, I cannot get the sound of his voice out of my head, I cannot forget the way he made me cry and the many showers I took to wipe the smell from my body"...that my friends is a tortured soul.

I know every child cannot be protected at all times and I am certainly not saying that I have always made the wisest parental decisions. However, this situation has definitely opened my eyes and caused me to see my job as a protector of my children and those around me even clearer.

Remember to talk, encourage, and build up your children. THEN REPEAT. It may save them a lot of heartache in the end.

The Bridal Makeup Expo : my perspective

Everyone loves a beautiful bride right? There is something about seeing a woman all dressed in white, bouquet in hand gliding to meet the love of her life. It represents hope and love, the continuation of life.Well, this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Bridal Makeup Explosion by
Mete' Dela an events planning company. The theme of this event was brides around the world. We were able to watch various brides walk the runway representing the bridal and makeup style of a particular continent. It was spectacular! Especially for me, I never been to an actual runway show before. Back stage there was so much hustle and bustle between the models, stylists, makeup artists and photographers. I kind of felt like I was on the set of America's Next Top Model. And just as we see on the reality shows, there was a divalicious model acting crabby and bratty regarding a particular dress that she did not want to wear. Looks to me like the stylist & make up artist were ready to throw some 'bow's on her and snatch out her lashes, but alas!....the show must go on at all costs.I thought the choice of venue; The Biltmore Ballrooms, in Atlanta Ga was fantastic. There were so many people representing various aspects of the industry. Tables and booths were setup for skincare, photography, videography, makeup and a pamper bar with the Pamp 'n Glam squad (more on that later ;)). There was entertainment, but let me be frank...it could have been better. The singers were more like screamers into the microphones. One group looked like they did not even practice their moves before getting up to perform. I was not impressed and neither were the attendees. Overall though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a great opportunity to network and meet people, gaining new experiences.

So, I'm ready for the next event! Got an invite?.....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Precious Moments, a perfectly sweet gift giveaway

I remember the first time I knew that I was pregnant. It was such an overwhelmingly emotional feeling of joy and love all rolled into one. I can remember waiting impatiently until my my 1st trimester was over so that I could begin to buy cute little baby things. Every week I was searching the racks of my favorite stores for anything that I thought would look adorable on my new baby and in his nursery.

For me it was a very big deal to have my baby's room all decked out. It had to be color coordinated with the colors of my choice and everything placed in perfect array. Once it was completed (6 weeks before his birth) I would check the room constantly, imagining my baby laying in his room in royal fashion. ( don't laugh, you know you did it too!)

This past weekend my brother and his girlfriend was given a baby shower by her family. They received such wonderful gifts, all the things that my little princess niece could need. Among the gifts that she received was a Precious Moments 3 piece bedding set. **insert the oohhs and aahhs here** Of course I'm making such a big deal because that was the gift I brought. ;-). I think it will be a precious addition (pun intended) to the decor of the new baby's nursery.

Precious Moments began as a faith inspired artwork over thirty years ago and is still going strong. Recently the company has branched out and opened it's new online Precious Moments Boutique . This is a great online destination for anyone who is a fan of the Precious Moments product. From figurines, to clothing, to bedding and even home and garden! You will find what you want. I know I was impressed by the company when I learned as much as I did from their site. Not only does the creators of PM design all of the afore mentioned things but they even have a park! Don't take my word for it, go to the site to see for yourself all that this product line has to offer.

And if you really have time on your hands you can watch this brief 5 minute video on how the Precious Moments figurines are made.....I thought it was interesting.

And now here is the sweet deal: would you like to win the Precious Moments bedding set for your new baby or as a gift for someone else? Well all you have to do is 1) leave a comment telling me who you want this set for and 2) put out this tweet : "I just entered a Precious Moments giveaway by @hicksgirl93 at www.sandrahicks.blogspot.com"

The contest will end by midnight on 9/18. Wish you the best!

*No money was provided for this blogpost. However the gift item was given in exchange and is provided for the purpose of the contest and promotion*

Monday, September 13, 2010

Taking the stress out of stressful ordering and gift buying, My Milson Road experience

As most of my readers know, I have recently moved into a new house. Of course, just the thought of moving in itself can cause one to feel a measure of stress. There are so many things to consider and remember; where to place the furniture? Should I get new furniture? I think I might need new pieces of decor to go with the new style of house. And the list goes on and on...

Well, with so many stressful decisions to make, there was one that was stress-less. It was absolutely stress-less when I went online to place my order at MilsonRoad.com for my 17 yr wedding anniversary Daily Portrait. In a few simple clicks I was able to create a customized lead news story that highlighted our wedding in 1993 and our anniversary in the current year of 2010. Throughout the process I was able to pick out not only the frame, but also the type of mat to go with it. Which they offered a nice variety of colors to compliment any home color scheme. The portrait itself is set up to look like an actual newspaper. I thought it was very cool to contrast and compare what was going on in the world on the day and year of our wedding to how things are now in the headlines. It showed the top songs of that year and the top songs of the current year. There were even highlights on best books, fashion, technology and sports. I could even upload my own pictures of the past and present.

I was very impressed at how thorough the Milson Road editing team were, when I submitted my info; such as names, dates, places, etc. I thought I had double checked everything to ensure no typographical error. Low and behold, I get an email regarding the spelling of my husbands name. I was so thankful that they double checked my double checking, because that would have been really embarrassing !

When my daily portrait finally arrived, I was very please by what I saw when I opened my package. The print was wrapped in a very cute lavender gift band ( my fav' color). Even my honey thought it looked great. I proudly hung it up right away. This is definitely worth keeping forever and displaying proudly.

Shortly after receiving it, I invited some friends over to check it out for themselves and share with them my experience. Just like I thought, they loved the concept and was already discussing how they could each use their coupon card that I gave them, courtesy of Milson Road.
Maxine excited about her coupon card she plans to use for parents anniversary. :)
I even had one person in on the conversation via Skype....now that is what I call a virtual party!
Showing my portrait to my friend on skype
These portraits can be purchased for yourself or as a gift for any occasion. Birth announcements, weddings, anniversary, birthdays, or anything that you consider to be a milestone. Whatever you may choose to use it for, you can be sure that it will be unique.

If you want to know more about how you can order one of these fabulous gifts for yourself, go directly to their site: www.MilsonRoad.com
Here is my lovely portrait! isn't it awesome?
*I received this item as a gift in exchange for truthfully sharing my opinion with my friends. No money was given."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Operation Code: Blogalicious in full effect

Ever want something really bad, you plan for it, think your gonna get it and then *WHOOPS* something happens to take it all away?

Well join the club! That's how I felt when I was making my plans for Blogalicious10 in Miami Florida for next month. I've been super psyched about going, but then I decided to embark upon some new schooling, to expand my profession. Of course school for adults ain't free, so I am having to sacrifice my money for purchasing a ticket to Blogalicious for my monthly school tuition. It was a tough decision, but I had to do it (trying to be a responsible adult). I know I made a good choice, and I realize that my $$'s can only stretch but so far but....".I wanna go sooooo baaaad" *insert really high pitch whiney voice here*

So when I heard about the contest to WIN a ticket to Blogalicious I was all over it like white on rice! I need that ticket, I need to be Miami, I.NEED.TO.WIN

Do you need a ticket too? Well you can enter the contest with Little Tech girl , but I'm gonna go ahead and claim it...."I GOT THIS!* ;)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Day of Change

Within the past year I have had several opportunities to come my way due to my blogging and blogging networks. All of which I have appreciated immensely, however out of them all there is one in particular that is dear to my heart. That would be The Ronald McDonald House Charity.

My first experience with this charity was the Give A Hand campaign. Several blogger's and myself were invited to McDonald's to work side by side with the employees in servicing the customers and asking for a donation to support the charity. Afterward, we were then taken to the actual House and it was amazing. I truly received an education, my eyes were opened.

Fast forward to spring 2010, I was given the privilege of participating in the National Moms Night Out event which provided a dinner, entertainment and pampering services for the mothers of the House. Those women were so deserving, due to their tenacity and love for which they have for their children. The children of whom are dealing daily with very serious illness.

Now , here we are in the current day and I have been given the privilege once again to show support for this wonderful charity. In my short time of dealing with this charity I witnessed with my own eyes how far a small contribution can go. Therefore I make a conscious effort to regularly contribute. A contribution to this charity goes to support the families of children who are fighting for their lives. People who travel many miles just to have the life saving treatment that their children need. The recipients not only receive beautiful and comfortable housing, but they get help in so many other areas.

Last year through the contributions of many people across the nation, RMHC was able to raise 20 million dollars! Wow! That shows that there is power in numbers, when everyone just gives a little it will grow a lot. That is why I am encouraging everyone that I know to remember September 9, 2010 , The National Day of Change. Walk into your local McDonald's search for the donation box and please drop in your pocket change. Use this as an opportunity to teach your child about charity and giving back to help those less fortunate. It's best to teach them now, leading by example.

Your donation will not go to waste. You won't have to worry that your funds are being used appropriately...I've seen it for myself. So , help make a difference in a families life. Give up your pocket change on September 9Th. To learn even more, including viewing video and pictures click here. RSVP for this event on Facebook and share with your friends, get them involved too! There is so much satisfaction in giving.

*this is not a paid post, however I was contacted to share the information with my readers and it is written from the heart*