I have only one son named Christopher Michael. Even though I had him at a young age, I was one and done. For those of you who know me, you know I often say things like “I don’t like children” or “I can’t deal with kids.” Something to the effect of me and kids not mixing. The funny thing is whenever I see a child, I smile and get all in my feelings. I gravitate to kids and they to me. Not to mention I am a Yaya to the most beautiful 3 year old little girl. One day a friend of mine asked me why I say such things when I am so kind to kids and would do anything for them. When I was called out, I actually had to be honest about my feelings and my words.
What I really mean when I say I don’t like kids is that I am scared and I need a village to help me because I would worry myself to death. They are so precious and sometimes I feel undeserving. Chris was a good kid (umm yes he had his moments!!) and turned into a great man, but the village that it took to help me raise him was phenomenal. I would not be who and where I am without them. Some of the people in my village have passed on and I don’t know if I could raise another child without them. What if someone tries to hurt them? What if they get abducted? I don’t have the words to explain how this would literally kill me. My Facebook news feed is full of Amber Alerts for missing children. Not to mention how children are being sold in the sex trafficking ring. I worry about my granddaughter and all of the children I love. I even love and worry about the children I don’t know. The thought of a child suffering is unimaginable and is too much to think about.
I will end my post by saying I love children and I will be a part of your village. I am going to help in any way I can. It takes all of us to keep our children safe from the evil monsters in the world. If I see something that is not right, I am definitely going to say something.
“Children represent the future, encourage, support and guide them.” Catherine Pulsifer
Fall is finally here and I am so happy! The humidity is gone and I am dancing a jig whenever I go outside. Which has been happening a lot lately because I am so happy with this weather. As the breeze is making the colorful leaves dance, I am thanking God for my season. I am planning international trips with my mom, going to the orchestra and going to concerts to see my favorite artists. I happily hibernate in the summer to live my life to the fullest during the fall and winter.
While I have so many wonderful things to look forward to, my happiness is not postponed until they take place. On the first cool day of the season, I put on my comfy socks, gray tights and my favorite fall shirt. As I was sipping on my green tea and highlighting in my book, I looked over at my dining area. It was then I decided to not call it a dining area. The space is so happy and colorful that dining should not be the only option in order to occupy the space. You can sit, talk, laugh, color, create or even dance. This is one of my happy spaces in my home that I look forward to experiencing daily. I am so thankful for the peace in my sanctuary. When there is peace in your home, you actually enjoy your own company. I have to admit that I am an introverted extrovert because I do enjoy staying home and watching “Rumpole of the Bailey” and “Vera” as opposed to dealing with Atlanta traffic and the crowds. I think to myself, why should I leave? All of my stuff is here!
I hope all of my readers have a happy home. Take time to make the space your own to reflect your vibrant personality or your Zen spirit. Happiness starts at home.
It doesn’t matter much what kind of house you’ve got as long as it’s a happy home.
Do you remember the last words you said to your friends of family today? When I spoke with my mommy, auntie and granddaughter (of course on Bluetooth) I made sure to say “I love ya’ll” before hanging up the phone. I have every intention of calling them back before I go to bed tonight. Not one time did I stop to think about what if one of us never made it home? I have to admit it’s something I often take for granted. There have been countless examples in the news lately when people leave home to go to work, school or run a quick errand and never make it back. During their grief, I am sure family and friends wonder what was the last thing I said to my son, daughter or friend?
None of us are robots and I know we are not always in the best mood. Maybe we are having a bad day because we are sick or because we are upset about something. I still try to remain mindful and make sure I don’t end a conversation on a bad note. We never know if it will be see you later or goodbye.
I can recall recently being home alone and not feeling well. I was determined to handle everything on my own because I did not want to bother anyone. I was irritated because I was in pain and I was irritated because of course I had so much to do and getting sick was not on my to do list. Before I decided to turn off my cell phone, my friend called to check on me and I was a bit short with him. I don’t even think I said goodbye. I literally just hung up. Not too long after the hang up there was a knock at my door. Not only was my friend standing at the door, but he threatened to call my mommy if I did not let him in. When I let him in, I laughed so hard and apologized for being so short with him. I told him I loved him and thanked him for checking on me. Turns out, I really needed everyone, all of my friends and family. I try not to end a conversation without saying I love you.
I hope everyone takes time to think about how words have power. Something as small as saying thank you or I love you to someone can make a world of difference. If you are in a bad mood already or if someone makes you angry, try to be mindful of your words because those words could be the very last ones you speak or that they hear from you.
Ephesians 4:26-27 26″In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold.
When I saw this meme online this morning, I laughed so hard I began to snort. I thought to myself ” Wow! what a great way to start off a Tuesday morning!” Since I enjoyed reading it over and over in various voices of older people I know, I thought said why not share the laugh? Once I posted the meme, all of my friends found it just as hilarious as I did. I shared with one of my friends who commented on it that I can picture my grandmother saying this to me. However she would have added a whipping to go with it! I never thought I would be a 42 year old mother with 10 tattoos. I remember when my brother started to getting his tattoos and I could not understand why. I felt like the old white woman in the meme: I bet he is a weed snorter! Then of course my son started getting them and then he got the big one. Who but his mom’s name on his forearm. I was so surprised, but I couldn’t help but to love it. I can remember asking Chris to please stop getting tattoos and my nonsensical reason was, “how are you going to get a job?” I am woman enough to admit that crow does not taste well at all. He is employed and doing just fine. I lost count on how many tattoos he actually has. When I moved to Atlanta, I got my first tattoo on my foot on a whim. I was just riding around and I saw Psycho Tattoo and said “let’s see what’s going on in here.” One hour later was I hobbling to my car with my pretty, swollen foot and my new tattoo. The funny thing is, I really loved my tattoo and it was something personal I did for myself. Oh and I didn’t lose my job because of it. Fast-forward 17 years I got my tenth one about 2 weeks ago. I love them all and I get so many compliments on them. They are for me and no one else.
This is a great life lesson on how I became the book I once judged by its cover. I have to be honest. I was a little afraid to show my mother my latest creations last weekend. I finally pulled up my sleeves and showed her. She was surprised and was only concerned about the pain they caused. She is one of my biggest HS supporters and she wants to make sure I take extra care of my skin. Times change and people change along with it, if they choose to do so.
Tattoos are beautiful. Get one, two or ten. The next time you see someone with a nice sleeve or leg tattoos, give them a compliment if you like them or ask questions if you are curious. I am sure we won’t mind sharing our story.
( On the inside of my forearms I have a dandelion, cross, lotus and mindfulness)
Today is a special day for me. Yes, I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but it is also my son’s birthday. For some reason Chris turning 26 today has made me feel proud, happy and thankful. Whenever I tell the faithful story of giving birth to him at the tender age of 16, I always start with telling people I had Chris before it was acceptable to be a teen mom. Not only did I or anyone else know I was pregnant (I was skinny and continued to have my period), but I gave birth at home. I’ll save the reaction stories for another time. What I can tell you is that I was a child that had given birth to a child and I was terrified! Chris was so tiny and premature that I was not even able to take pictures of him until 27 days after he was born. Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama was his home for the next several months.
As I sit here and think back about his life up until this point, I smile and I thank God. Even for the times that he was not making the best decisions or doing the right thing. All of that was part of his journey that makes him the man I see before me today. He is handsome, strong, smart, kind and has a heart of gold. Best of all, he knows that he is loved. When I think about how I wish my daddy was here to witness Chris on his journey, I have to remind myself that his spirit is with us and continues to live on through us. I know he is just as proud as I am.
Words cannot express how much I love my son. He has been my motivation for 26 years. We have not always agreed on everything, but one thing I always hold on to, nothing will ever separate me from the love I have for him. I want to end this mom brag post with one of my favorite verses in Adele’s Sweetest Devotion song. The song she wrote about her son.
I wasn’t ready then, I’m ready now
I’m heading straight for you
You will only be eternally
The one that I belong to
By now you have read the meme to this post and I can almost guarantee that you either laughed out loud or shook your head in agreement. I consider myself a pretty strong woman and I can think of so many times I took a good cry before or maybe after I bossed up and handled things. Typically none of us tells that part of the story, just the part where we show strength. For some reason, we tend to think vulnerability makes us seem weak and fragile, but that is not true. When we are vulnerable we are actually showing just how strong we are.
One of the most recent crying/boss up moments happened to me when my mommy called and told me she had to have heart surgery. I immediately stepped into momma bear mode right then and there. When she hung up the phone, I grabbed my puppy and cried like a baby. That was my mommy and I could not understand why this was happening to her. After my soul was cleansed from my good ole cry, I bossed back up because I had no choice but to be strong for her.
Depending on my mood I might be listening to Bach, Beethoven, Tupac, Jay-Z, Charlie Daniels or Faith Hill. Thinking back on another moment, one day as I finish a verse in one of Pac’s songs that talked about taking someone out the game, I started to think back to when that same song was playing in the car when I was riding with my daddy. He looked over at me as I sang along getting every word right and asked why was I singing that song like I had lived it. I replayed that moment like it had just happened. I laughed for a split second before I had a mini-meltdown. Tears, snot, the ugly cry and all happened so quickly. This went on for what seemed like forever. Then all of a sudden my phone rang and I saw my son Chris was calling. I gathered my composure and answered. When Chris asked me what I was doing I answered in my boss voice,” listening to some Pac and thinking about your Paw Paw Mike!” I could not let Chris hear me upset because he would have automatically thought something bad had happened no matter what I said to him. He worries about me enough, so I had to boss up before the call. Afterwards I had to laugh at myself.
Continue to be strong, stoic and persevere, but if you need to take a moment and cry it’s okay. Just make sure you boss back up and take care of business. If you need help doing it, just ask. It’s okay!
“…you know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.”
― Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning
Today seemed to be a day of positive reflection for me. Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of the passing of my Scottish Terrier Ali. As I was remembering all of the great and funny times we had, I could not help but to think about the day he died. I remember donating all of his stuff the animal hospital and going home pulling the cover over my head. I did not leave the house for several days after his death. Then one day there was a knock at the door. Contemplating whether or not I was going to answer, I sat there in silence. The knocking only got louder. I finally went to the door and it was my neighbor. I am sure she was frightened of the sight that came to the door because I was looking the way I was feeling, A COMPLETE MESS. She told me she hadn’t seen me outside for several days and she wanted to make sure I was doing okay. I muttered something to try to get rid of her, but it did not work. She continued to tell me how she enjoyed seeing me and Ali outside playing around and that he would not want me to isolate myself. I thanked her for coming over and told her I was going to get out of the house. She told me if I didn’t she would be back and she was going to assist me. We laughed and I shut the door, but I knew she was as serious as she could possibly be.
On yesterday while I was working, there was this loud, strong knock at the door. Gambino and I looked at each other. He started to bark and I started to ask him questions like “who is that knocking like the police? Why are they at my door? and Where is the bat?” I finally made it to the door and there stood this beautiful little elderly woman with her cane. It was my neighbor’s mom. When I opened the door, she said ” my daughter told me to come and knock on your door if I wanted to turn the TV on in the living room because the last time I tried to turn it on the repairman had to fix it!” I laughed, grabbed Gambino and went over to help her. While I was trying to figure out the television remote controllers, she went on to tell me how much she enjoys watching me walk Gambino. She especially likes when he puts the leash in his mouth and walks himself. She reminded me of the time he ran up the street and when I started chasing him, I lost a shoe. We laughed and I offered to give her Gambino because clearly he was a bad puppy!
I get messages from some of my friends on social media that say they look forward to reading my posts because they can count on them being hilarious or inspirational. I never knew people were enjoying them. I try to share things that touch me in some way and can hopefully do the same for someone else. You never know who is watching you. You never know what kind of impact you can have on a person’s life by just doing typical everyday things. Who did you notice today? Did you say something kind to anyone today? Sprinkle kindness on everything!
I hope everyone is doing well. It has been a stressful, rollercoaster past few weeks. As unorganized and all over the place as I have been, I am thankful that I am here. Still moving forward, still pushing, REFUSING TO BE DEFEATED!
As many of you know my mommy just had triple bypass surgery. Yes, this is a major procedure. When she first told me, I have to admit I was taken aback. I immediately went into mommy protector mode. While trying to stay positive with my mommy, I began to prep and plan trying to get everything done before the date of her surgery. I did not want her to have to worry about anything. After I hung the phone with her I sat here at my desk wondering what I was going to do next. First thing I did was ask God to watch over and heal my mommy. I explained to him how much I loved her and how much I needed her. I continuously prayed and prayed and anything trace of fear I initially had disappeared. I had to choose fear or faith. I chose faith.
With everything going on of course I started to reflect on the days of when my daddy was sick in the hospital. I honestly think God knew I was about to spiral down a never-ending rabbit hole of emotion with these thoughts. Instead I thought about the things my parents told me at some very difficult times in my life. I narrowed it down to two for the sake of not writing a book. (More to come in future posts!)
- I traveled home from Atlanta on a stormy day to visit with my daddy when he was in the hospital. This was actually one of the last visits I had with him before he passed away. So it took me a while to get there and when I did I was so tired and hungry. It’s like I can see his face now. When I walked in the room he smiled and said “hey baby!” I spoke and told him it took me forever to get there because it was storming. I told him I was hungry, but that I didn’t need to eat because I was fat. Daddy looked at me and said ” Landa you are not fat. I wish I looked like you right now. You are so beautiful.” Of course I told him ” I get it from my daddy!” We both laughed. You see, at the time my daddy had lost so much weight because he was sick, he didn’t look like himself. I grabbed his hand (which I just loved) and told him thank you and that I loved him. There I was complaining about the way I looked and all he could see was his daughter that he loved and that loved him so much. That’s all that matters.
- I called my mommy one day like I try to do on a daily basis even if there is nothing going on. Well on that particular day, I was having a bad day. My feelings were hurt about work and my lack of a social life. I remember being at the point of tears. Just before a tear fell my mommy said to me,” Baby I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. You have no idea how wonderful you are.” Of course many tears fell after that. When I got off the phone with my mommy all I could do is smile and thank God for her. She had no idea how what she said made me feel so much better. Words from her mouth went straight to my heart.
I carry my parents with me daily. It doesn’t mean that I don’t mess up or make mistakes. It means that God does not make mistakes. It means my parents belong to me and I to them. Even when we have had our WTF moments, rough spots and truly asking if there was a mix up at the hospital. I means I was, am and will always be loved by them, as I love them.
Things have a way of coming back full circle. I have been lucky enough to be with my parents during their times when they were vulnerable and sick. When they needed me most. I use the word lucky because it is something I am more than happy to do. They have taken care of me all of my life. The good, the bad and the ugly. Yes it has been ugly because no matter the ailment, I told my parents about it! LOL! I know as children we can never repay our parents for everything they have done, but it is nice to show them the unconditional love they have shown us.
I know its been a while since I have embraced my blog, but I am so happy to be writing this post. As I sit here an write I am listening to Drake’s In My Feelings that has taken social media by storm with the shiggy challenge. I have been singing and trying to dance to this song for 3 days now. My puppy Gambino started out enjoying the festivities, now he just goes and hides when I start the music. Of course you know I force him to dance with me because I am his mom dammit! LOL! Needless to say today is a good day.
For those of you who know me personally, you know I am a planner. For the most part I need to know how, when and where when I am doing something preferably before hand. I am working on being more spontaneous, but I must say it is not easy. I call it being organized, others call it being a control freak. With that being said, once upon a time I really thought I could plan love. Yes you read it right, love. One of the most fickle, wild, crazy, unpredictable feelings/action ever know to man. The list was made. Everything from the way he looked, his job, hygiene skills, the type of car he drove to what kind of parents he would have. I wouldn’t say I was on the hunt, but I would say rather I was carrying this list with me everywhere and if I met someone who fit then it was a good thing. Right? WRONG! I will tell you why. If you never meet a man with these qualifications then you think you have failed at love in some form. Like maybe he is not out there for you and you are destined to be alone. Or you end up frustrated and say to hell with the list and decide to choose from being a workaholic or a crazy dog lady. Whatever comes first.
Then, it just happens. The day you are minding your own business while you are in Publix trying to find ripe bananas for yourself and fresh ones for your puppy. He asks you if you could hand him a fruit bag. (That he could’ve gotten himself!) As you are handing him the bag you both end up dropping your fruit. 5 minutes later you exchanged numbers and he says he is going to call you once he gets home. ( AND HE DOES!) That is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Sometimes there is no handbook or script. You just have to go with it. Not everything is meant to be planned. Life is too short not to make the best of it. It is when you least expect it the magic begins.
We Meet For A Reason. Either You Are A Blessing Or A Lesson
First let me say please check on your strong friend people. Anyone can be screaming HELP! with a stoic face. You never know what battles or demons someone is fighting. Depression, anxiety, anger or suicidal thoughts are not always visible. Please take to time to ask your strong friend (or anyone for that matter) if they are okay. The most important thing is to stick around and wait on an answer. Mental illness does not have a class. We often equate wealth and riches with happiness. Sorry people, wealth does not equal happiness. Relationships are important. Smiles are important. Kindness is important.
It is okay to say you are not okay. No man is an island. If you are depleted and feel as if you need to replenish then say so and take good care of yourself. If you don’t know how to take care of yourself, ask someone. It is okay. Don’t go at it alone.
I sat down at my computer to start work and of course plastered all over everywhere was the recent suicide of Anthony Bourdain. I read it and shook my head. I don’t know if I was scared, shocked or angry when I began this post, but I know something needed to be said. Weren’t we all just discussing the recent suicide of Kate Spade? How many people do you know have said that they have thought about suicide at least once? Did you remember that day? You might have been out having what you thought was a good time. Meanwhile that person was in their own silent hell.
Let’s show up for one another. I am your strong friend, but I need someone too!
If you need to talk please call 1-800-715-4225 Suicide Prevention Line.