Believe In Fresh Starts And New Beginnings

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

– George Bernard Shaw

Only two days after arriving in Georgia, I was giddy with excitement. We found ourselves walking around in amazement at Avalon in Alpharetta. Honey child!! I was flippin’ happier than a pig in… Well, you know the saying.

Avalon is a “luxury” residential community built in the heart of an eclectic outdoor shopping plaza. Resting atop Gap and other stores are brick and modern stucco condos with wrought iron enclosed balconies. At a different stage in my life, I could see myself living here.

Public shopping areas are litter free and have the ambiance of urban living but without the hassles of city life.

Plenty of diverse eateries offer indoor and outdoor dining and are conveniently located throughout the shopping center. I feel like an advertisement for the plaza, but I’m trying to give you a sense of what the place feels like.

Anyways, the need for a change of address stationery motivated me to visit Paper Source. PS, a small, cute, and fun store specializes in stationery but also sells cards, wedding invitations, inspirational books, customized items, DIY supplies, and more.

Habitually I am attracted to books, mainly positive, self-help, and inspirational reads. I’m always working on myself, so if someone has gems to share, I want in!

So here’s the interesting piece and the purpose for this post. A force leads me to the store. Then my eyes lock in on the book, believe.

belive.jpg

I have to tell you, with a title like believe, there’s no way in hell that I’m not going to snatch the book up and take a peek.

Although I did not look at the first page, I quickly scan and immediately recognize that the book was placed right there for me.

I realized that at that very moment, I stood exactly where I was supposed to be. I am 100% satisfied.  How did I know?

Whelp. Read the first page that I turned to?

fresh starts.jpg

See! I told you!!

As I said to you in an earlier post, we have to LISTEN very carefully to the voice of the spirit. Messages from the universe and (God) is always timely.

Over the past year, I made a myriad of changes in my life and, in the newness of my current situation, God wanted me to know that I am on track, rest easy, and to continue to move forward.

Becoming more transparent in my writing is a goal, so to keep it 100% with you, I’m telling you straight up that I rarely attend Sunday services. However, I believe in the spirit of God and a higher universal power.

If you feel stuck in adversity, consider the fact that, you are reading this post at this precise moment, and this is no accident.  Today you were intentionally guided to reading this post.

Believe in fresh starts and new beginnings and understand that only you can launch the change in your personal and/or professional life that you desire. The day I started this post, my cousin’s facebook status read,

“If you want your life changed, you have to change your lifestyle.” CS

You initiate the change by working only on YOU not by working those around you. My advice is the following:

  • Find a quiet place where you can sit alone, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes. Do this every day. Your designated quiet time can be in the morning, afternoon, or bedtime. What is important is that the time works for you.
  • Withdrawing from all of the external noises frequently will provide an opportunity for you to clear your mind.


Image courtesy of Project Happiness

  • Familiarize yourself with meditation. Meditation requires no major tools or supplies. Some find that certain items such as a blanket, a block, a pillow, candles, or incense are helpful.  Nora Anderson describes meditation as a process as a “concept to stop the mental dialogue so that you can be without thought.”
    • Why meditation? Meditation can relieve stress, calm the mind, reduce anxiety, burnout, improve productivity, and more. Be open-minded and try it. Like everything, it takes practice. At first, your mind will wander all over.  Thoughts of the day’s task will come to mind, and you will have thoughts about your pets, your kids, work, dinner or something else. Just know that all of your random thoughts are normal.
    • There are also many guided meditations apps to assist you.
      • My two favorites are:
    • I have been using the Relax & Rest app for a while. It may cost $1.99 or something similar. The Calm app is new to me, but I love the variety of audio and visuals.
      • I like the apps because once downloaded on your Smartphone, you can discreetly use them anywhere at anytime. Keep a set of earbuds handy.
      • Stressed before a meeting… Got your feathers ruffled at work or you’re stuck in a traffic jam…. tap on the app and do a quick 10-minute session. It is an ideal way to gain clarity and to refocus your thoughts.   No matter who you are, everyone experiences moments of frustration, disgruntlement or irritability but the trick is to have a plan/routine/system to get you back on track.
  • Once you begin to create a space of solitude for yourself, you will start to gain clarity and can focus on setting new goals. To monitor your thoughts, keep a small journal or notebook nearby.   You will have many, and you’ll want to capture them all on paper. Of course, you can always use an app to organize your thoughts. I recently starting using Trello and I love it. If you are confused about the app, go to YouTube, and you will find all the help you need. I use Trello for personal and professional purposes.

Okay! I have gotten a little off track but felt like I needed to give you that information. I hope that it helps you to grow and to continue to work toward becoming the absolute best version of yourself.

Thanks for passing through!

Peace!

 


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!  🙂