To Hear, To Heed, and To Act

It was one week ago Saturday that I moved about 650 miles from the Jersey Shore to North East Georgia. The Jersey Shore is located in Atlantic County, New Jersey.  I lived in Atlantic County my entire life!  This move is huge!!  Bona-fide big! Bigger than any move in my lifetime.

Some family, a few friends, and many colleagues are asking, what the????  Lol!!  For many, the move was unexpected.

Last year this time, we did not think that in 2017, we would be living in Georgia.

I am spiritual. I believe that God, the Universe, or whomever you may believe in, speaks to us, but we must exist in a state of being, to hear, to heed, and to act on the messages.

For about a year, hubby and I talked about the possibility of selling our beautiful home of 14 years.  Our lovely home hosted dozens of holiday dinners, super bowl parties, New Years Eve parties, and other special events. Nicknamed, The Resort, by my friends because of the fantastic “get-away” feel, no one ever expected us to sell.

Due to the slow real estate market, we assumed our home would take close to a year to sell.  We listened to a nagging impulse (God’s message) to put the house on the market.

We did.  

And it sold.

Quickly!

Our home was placed on the market later in afternoon on a Tuesday.  We weren’t in a hurry to put a For Sale sign out front but the house was listed online.  The following day a buyer looked at our home at around 11 a.m.

They loved our home!

Placed a full offer.

The rest is history!

Nine months later and after a rewarding 29-year career in public safety, hubby reluctantly and abruptly retired. Long story short, the state gave him and others little choice.  Another unplanned change. Lol!

About a year and a half prior, we looked at post retirement homes in different states but honestly, we didn’t make or foresee any changes in the near future.

One state, in particular, felt like home. Georgia. Although hundreds of miles away, it had the feel of the Garden State.  An abundance of blooming trees and flowers; just like home.

On one visit, we fell in love with a home and decided to place an offer.  Our offer was accepted and we were stunned…but elated!!   Lol!

We believed and understood that a higher power was at work and acceptance of the offer (by the builder) meant that the house was designated for us by God.

Although hubby retired, my intentions were to continue working for the school district. But then something happened.

Somewhere and somehow a conversation started about me retiring and us just packing up and getting the he** out of NJ.  It was divine intervention. While I had 15 years in with the board of education, I thought I’d be there longer.

Oh well.  Our son was finishing eighth grade.  Ideally, this was the perfect time to move. The best time to move a teenager is before they start high school.  

Tomorrow isn’t promised.  Last year several family members died.  Four years from now could look different and the opportunity to make the move may not exist. Life is too short to delay distinct opportunities. 

All of the energy, God’s voice, the whispers, and the signs said to move.  So we did.  🙂
Now here’s where you really need to pay attention.

“They” fall into the category of naysayers, haters, frienemies, jealous types, etc…  they started throwing questions and negative comments at me.  “Can you afford to retire?”  “How old are you?”  “Are you old enough to retire and collect?”  “Where will you find a job?”  “Do you know what you’re doing?” “You’re leaving a good paying job.”  “They don’t pay well down south!”

OMG!!  The dumb shit that people say to you when you’re doing what they wish they had the courage to do is amazing!!!

Only YOU know what is best for YOU.  Don’t allow people who don’t have your best interest at heart to dissuade you from making important life decisions. 

All the cliche sounding quotes about change and fear are true.  And there are many….

For me, this move was about shifting to a slower gear and to simplify my life.  

Have less.

Do more.

Live purposefully.

Live authentically.

Live happily.

This process of moving to a new state has taught me to continue to trust in myself, trust my husband, and more importantly, trust in God, for he has the master plan and he knows best.

If you do not believe in God, it’s okay, I don’t judge.  🙂  There is energy in our universe.  If you listen to the whispers in your ear or the voices in your head they will guide you to precisely where you are supposed to be.

The ancient proverb that things happen for a reason is true.  At 52 years-old, I have dozens of personal stories to prove this doctrine.  

Move forward with flexibility and be open to change. A future post will provide helpful moving tips… stay tuned.

“Hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction, that you may be wise in the time to come.” (AMP)    –Proverbs 19:20

My move hasn’t gone 100% as planned but it has come pretty darn close to it as possible. The other day I was asked, how am I adjusting.

Well.  

I feel at home. I’m living in a new home with a new zeal, which was intentional.

I didn’t want to try and recreate my Jersey Shore vibe in the Peach state.  Instead, I’m starting with a clean slate and with amenity.  None knows me and I love it!  

The Cherry Blossom and Crape Myrtle trees are plentiful.

The southern hospitality is a refreshing change.  

Many of the same stores are here but I do miss Wawa.  

I no longer have a rigid schedule and wake up without an alarm clock.

It’s hot as hell and I love it! I despise the cold and had to tolerate it for nearly 52 years.  

My 14-year-old is wearing the biggest damn smile that I’ve seen in a long time.

Life is good.  I am overflowing with gratitude because I am fabulously blessed.  

Most days, I say, “pinch me!”  I’m loving life!! 

What’s next?  To enjoy each day, to give back to the community, and to allow God’s wisdom to guide me in this next chapter.

Smooches and thanks for stopping by!

Have a fabulous day!  🙂

 

Stop Being Afraid: Just Do It!

It is likely that at some point in your life, fear will prevent you from doing something. That “something” could be returning to school, making a career change, relocating to a new city or state, ending a toxic relationship, starting a fitness program, public speaking, starting your own business, or something else.

“Empowered fear is the mighty immobilizer.  tfc

The thing is, you give fear power by “living in your mind,” and the fear then becomes the biggest roadblock you create for yourself.  Instead of just taking the risk and see where your actions lead, in your mind you concoct absurd conclusions based on what ifs, and make  excuses as to why you cannot move forward,

In my early 30’s, occasionally I would see a sista with locs. At that time, locs weren’t as common and they were not viewed as socially acceptable or professional by employers and close-minded and uneducated people. Even today in a more liberal society, some people remain ignorant and believe the style is dirty, unkempt, and ugly.

Regardless, I have always loved their unique and free-flowing ability. Their lack of uniformity and rebel like style is appealing to me. When I see men, women and children sporting their locs, to me, they symbolize freedom and confidence. I especially love seeing Caucasian men and women workin’ the heck out of their locs and can’t stand when black folk of color take issue with them and act like the style belongs to black folk, but that’s a whole other post.

Why freedom and confidence?  Because of the mass confusion and general lack of knowledge about locs, people are often judged, snubbed, and ridiculed for taking a liking to the style.  Some level of confidence is inherent to comfortably and confidently wear the style.  Ask anyone wearing locs. They can tell you about the ill-mannered questions, statements, and odd looks they receive.

Nearly three years ago, when my son began his Loc journey, a woman thought she needed to correct me about decision to wash–that’s right–wash my son’s hair.  Smh! This black woman was convinced that my son’s’ hair would not loc if I continued to wash it.

Depending on the hair, the process can take months… many months. That notion is foolish and makes no sense because the water, I learned from my son’s professional Loctician, help the hair hair  loc),  Included in my son’s’ loc maintenance is always a good shampoo. His hair Loced with no problem.

As I sit and write this, my heart started beating fast again! Lol!! I am one hour and six minutes aways from a new chapter in my life.

While I am writing about the start of my loc journey,

this post is more about overcoming and conquering fears. 

After months of  serious deliberation and weighing the pros and cons of locing  my hair, I committed to begin my loc journey.  “I am expressing my creativity…” Lauren Hill, I Am Not My Hair.What took me so long?

I was afraid. Yep, there goes that immobilizing word again. FEAR!!!!!!

Afraid that I would not like the style.

Afraid of the early frizzy stage.

Afraid that if I changed careers, the style would beome a barrier.

Afraid that my locs would not be as pretty as my sons, my cousins or others.

Afraid that my busy schedule would not allow me to keep up the appointments.

Afraid of what I would look like with tiny coils in the early stage.

Afraid of not looking attractive.

Afraid of looking my age.

When I read over the list, I think to myself, “girl that is stupid!” Stupid but real.  You feel what you feel.

So how did I get over the hump?

Three weeks before my loc appointment, I decided to do something that I have not done before. Install small two-strand twists and wear them to work.

Th twist were a huge contrast to the big puff I wore all summer. Lol! After twisting my hair, my head looked so flat and small. While I was not convinced the style complimented my facial features, I pushed the thought to the back of mind, added more mascara, puckered for my favorite lip color, and kept it moving.. Lol!! The style definitely changed my appearance and this took some getting use to.

Now for the positive. For two weeks, I did not have to style my hair. With my active lifestyle, this was a bonus. As each day passed, I became more comfy and cared less about what anyone thought. I felt free from the daily grind of styling my natural hair.

During the two weeks before my hair appointment, I continued to gain inspiration and knowledge from bloggers and photos on Instagram and Pinterest. People don’t always realize how much they help others by posting pictures and by sharing their personal journeys.

The bottom line is, I simply made a choice to stay with my theme of living an authentic life and to do exactly what I have been wanting to do without looking back.

Fast Froward…

On Saturday, October 17, 2015, my loc journey officially began.   🙂 
The night before my appointment, I decided to flat twist my hair…  Lol!  Bye-Bye products!!


Drum roll……



My coils are so tiny, but eventually they will expand… I am eager.


The first week has been an emotional roller coaster!!   My locs were installed on Saturday. Sunday I worked out and sweated like a dog.  Monday’s hair wasn’t so bad, but after Wednesday’s spin class, I was feeling uncomfortable with all the frizz.  I felt like my hair was going in every different direction.

On Thursday, I wore a loc sock, but I think it was a big fail.  Lol!! 
All week the natural chica’s in the office were so supportive and encouraging. By Friday, I felt raggedy and needed to do something.

My long time bestie was burrying her mother on Saturday and there was no way I could have showed up with my hair all frizzed up.  I looked a hot mess so Friday after work I found a solution!!

Ta-da!!    

I bought this funky wig!!  Now my locs are happily nesting under my temporary hair. During my loc journey and until my locs begin budding, I think I will bounce back and forth, in and out of my wig; it’s so much fun!!

Whatever it is that you’re thinking about doing, just go ahead an do it!  The outcome will mostly likely be better than you ever expected.

Keep it movin!!  🙂

Watch Yourself On Complaining

“There were people who went to sleep last night,
poor and rich and white and black,
but they will never wake again.

And those dead folks would give anything at all
for just five minutes of this weather
or ten minutes of plowing.

So you watch yourself about complaining.

What you’re supposed to do
when you don’t like a thing is change it.
If you can’t change it,
change the way you think about it.”
― Maya Angelou

I was surprised to received a group email. I was even more caught off guard by the sender. The sender pretty much reflected on his past practices and concluded that changes were in order. The reason for and the specifics of the email are not important.

What is important is the theme of the message:

CHANGE: to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone.

Without a desire and effort, change is impossible.  We can look outward and point to everything around us that we think needs changing but it is not until we look at our own reflection that a transformation can occur.

Sustaining a healthy lifestyle is an ongoing journey.

My definition of a “Healthy Lifestyle” is

maintaining a balance of all that is good (spirituality, giving to those less fortunate); all that is positive (energy); all that makes me smile (fitness, family, finance & fun); and endless adventures and opportunities to learn, grow, and develop as a person. 🙂

Lol!  I know… that’s a mouthful, but “healthy living” encompasses many factors (for me).

I stumbled on this particular work of Maya Angelo and had to share it with you! If you find yourself complaining about something, remember Maya Angelo’s words, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing, is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

Oh do; please reflect on her wisodm and have a marvelous day!  🙂

On Becoming Great

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Photo credit: Pinterest Levo.com

Happy Friday!

Try Something New!

I like to challenge myself. I like to learn – so I like to try new things and try to keep growing.

-David Schwimmer

I loooooove to try new things; it’s scary and fun!

If you are on a journey to live healthier, whether it is to eat better foods, get into better physical condition, or just to adapt a healthier lifestyle, it begins with having the courage to be open-minded to trying new things and a willingness to view life through a different lens.

I am so excited! Why? Because today I am trying not one, but two new recipes!! Heeey! I’m dancing around the kitchen. Lol!

To eat healthy and clean (as clean as possible), you have your staple food items (avocados, leafy greens, brown rice, quinoa, and more). However, the six meals a day can get boring really quick, so just like fitness, you’ve gotta mix it up!

This is suppose to be a quick post, so I’ve got get back to cooking, but check out the ingredients. I forgot to include the black beans and two other spices in the recipe, but everything else is included in the picture.

These ingredients may not look like much, but oh… wait until you see the results!

ingredients

I’ll chat with you later!  🙂

 

 

Hasta La Vista To Two Favorites

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

― Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

The imagination is a powerful force?  Creativity, ingenuity, and unlimited possibilities occur as a result of positive usage of the imagination. However, negative energy can lead the imagination to produce fear, anxiety, and skepticism.

At least twice this past week, thoughts of having to change two of my favorite routines, clouded my vision.

The first had to do with music. At the end of a workout session, a chit-chat with my trainer stunned me.

Trainer:  When I return from vacation, you can’t use “that” (pointing to my iPod) any more.

Me:  Stunned.  Is she kidding, I’m thinking.

Trainer:   We’re about 9 weeks out and we need to take this training to another level.

Me: Whiney like a little kid use to having her way. Oh no! Music motivates me.  I do eeeeverthing with music.  Run, eat, sleep, etc…

Trainer:    She kicked into “mommy/drill sergeant mode.”   Well, you’ll just have to learn to use your mind to motivate yourself.

It was as if she ended her sentence with, “Period! End of discussion!  I don’t want to hear any more from you!” LOL!  Oh boy!!

For now... bye-bye iPod!

For now… bye-bye iPod!

While driving to the gym for my first day of working out with her without music, I thought about her orders. Frustration settled in and I thought about challenging her on her decision.  The entire drive, I turned up the volume and blasted the music while trying to store up the good feel from the base and series of favorite tunes.  I know.  Sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. I think everyone has that one “thing” that infuses a sense of comfort, support, and motivation.  My “thing” is music.

I was even silly enough to question myself on how I would be able to push through the last and most difficult reps while deprived of a rhythmic beat and inspiring lyrics. Smh!

Within 20 minutes of the workout, I forgot all about my routine of one ear being pounced with heavy base. I was no longer distracted (my trainer’s words not mine) by the volume or finding the right track before completing a set. I moved swiftly and without delay. I had a great workout.

Today I did two sets of drop-downs arm curls on the cable machine starting with 90 pounds!  No music and.. a personal best for me. Whoop! Whoop! High-five!!! Thanks for the push coach!

I imagined the process and the outcome to be all WRONG.

Sugar free java

Sugar free java

At around 7 o’clock this morning, I think. Correction.  I know that I drank my last sugar laced cup of coffee.  Erroneously I convinced myself that, while training, I’d be okay using Sugar In The Raw in my coffee.  But the fact is, sugar IS sugar.

imagined that regardless of having a splash of Bailey’s, my favorite flavored creamer, my organic freshly ground coffee would taste bitter and less satisfying.  Hmm…  How many ways can I say wrong?  Incorrect. Mistaken.  Amiss.  And so on… just like my imagination.  I enjoyed my java no less than I did yesterday.  I am surprised but happy.  🙂

My favorite coffee and mug

My favorite coffee and mug

It is ironic how I consider myself to be a positive thinker. Yet two times this week when I was required to do something different from what I LOVE and from my norm, that I  conjured up  negative thoughts about the changes. 

What’s up with that? When it comes to work, I constantly look for new solutions to old challenges and seek out better ways to get the job done.  But I now realize that it may not occur automatically on a more personal level.  Wait, wait wait.  Thinking about this even more, the thoughts of a negative outcome happens when the change is a directive from someone other than myself.  Yeah, that’s probably it.

I just realized this self-defeating behavior/attitude about myself.  Wow! I need to pay closer attention to my thoughts and get this mess in check.

See, this is exactly why I love writing.  All that stuff in my head gets sorted out on paper or on the keyboard.

The week ended with two successes.  While my successes may seem minor, the payoff for making both changes are big and will move me closer to accomplishing my goal of placing tops in May’s figure competition.

My arms feel like lead from this mornings workout, so after dinner a nap is in order–something I rarely get. Tomorrow morning it’s back to the gym for training and posing practice.

Enjoy your weekend!

Reads About Sugar

Sugar in the Raw That’s Not | The Healthy Home Economist

Difference Between Brown Sugar & Sugar in the Raw 

Nutrition Diva:  Is Natural Sugar Better for You?

Is Sugar Bad For A Bodybuilder?