She Has Outlived Three Vegans!

G’Mom Dynamite is 83!!   In the morning, she enjoys her duo of a cup of freshly ground Joe with her smokes. Like, a hot apple a la mode served with creamy vanilla bean ice-cream, the two pair nicely. When she gets up in the morning, I encourage her to pick something healthy to eat.  I make sure I keep her favorite fruits on hand.  But, at her age, who am I to tell her what to eat, how often, and how much to eat?

Regardless of her 60+ year relationship with non-filtered cigarettes and Gin (the 70’s), old Grand Dad (the 80’s-90’s),  or Hennessy (late 90’s to present), she is still alive and kicking.  I may live a healthy lifestyle but there is still no guarantee that I will live age 83.

Medication for high blood pressure doesn’t stir her to read labels or to give up her prepackaged high sodium favorites like this Spicy Miso Ramen Noodle Soop! 920 grams of sodium per serving! Holy cow!  Yuck!!  But I see her point that she’s lived through eight decades.

My mom has outlived three vegetarians in our family, who never drank, smoked, or ate any form of meat or seafood.

Lol! It’s funny but not really. I miss my cousins and aunts.  But I see her point.  Take my beautiful cousin Marlene for example. RIP cuz.   She lived a clean life but died in her early 40’s while battling breast cancer. I respect my mother’s point-of-view but continue to encourage her to make healthy food


choices.  When she talks about dying, which is often and I say, “While you are living, let’s focus on quality of life.”  She responds,  “Tanya, you can’t live forever!!  She looks at me and cracks up laughing!   I join in with her laughter and know that, for the most part, I am wasting my time.

Seriously I contribute mom’s longevity to her upbringing.  Mom and her siblings were poor. They ate fresh everything!  My grandmother managed the family’s health with natural herbs like goldenseal, poke root, catnip, dandelion, fennel, nettle, and more.  I’m not talking about the stuff in a bottle. I’m speaking of the plants, roots, and grounded powder versions. The grandkids in my generation helped momma make capsules for the family.  They never ate out in restaurants, drank soda, cool aid, or any of that. Their eggs came from farm raised, grass fed chickens. The well water they drank was fresh and wasn’t contaminated by the chemicals that taint our current water supplies. Life and the food supply was simpler.

As I was about to leave for work the other day, I noticed her morning snack before breakfast: grapes and apples! I didn’t say a word but could not help smiling and chuckling. When she turned her back, I snapped a quick picture!!  Lol!! Hmm… maybe she is listening.

Her snack made my day! 🙂

Take care of yourself in 2017!



Celebrating 81 Years

Happy Birthday Mom!!

Today is mom’s 81st birthday.  Talk about blessings!  Well, first I am blessed to live to see my mom celebrate the milestone.  Second, she’s blessed, because many folks do not live to see 81. My children have had precious years with their grandmother. The blessings are endless!

“Lena,”  “Florence,” “Grandma Dynamite,” “Grand mom,” whatever you choose to call her is very much alive and kickin!


 Happy that mom is celebrating her 81st Birthday today!   #100HappyDaysChallenge #100HappyDays4Lexa  Day#18

Known quite well for her outspoken and sharp tongue.  Rarely asked for her opinion, yet she will still (to this day) give it all to you.  The good, bad, and the downright ugly!  She will tell you,

 “My mom always told me to tell the truth, so that’s what I do!

Known by everyone as mama and pop, my grandparents raised mom and 12 siblings in a small shack in the country, a good 20 miles or so from civilization.

They lived without electricity, gas, or running water.  Getting up in the middle of the night to use the “bathroom” meant going outside to the outhouse.  And yet today, I have the nerve to turn my nose up to a port-potty.  Back in the day, mom would have been too darn happy to use that amenity.

Laundry meant using a washboard.


 Just imagine laundry for 15 family members using wash boards!

Every school day, she (and her siblings) walked miles on a long dirt road, narrowed by over-sized oak and pine trees, to catch the school bus.  Rain, shine, hot, and frigid cold—didn’t matter they still walked wearing hand-stitched clothing and run down shoes, eating mama’s (my grandmother’s) homemade biscuits.

Mom survived some real hard times.  I was curious about 1933, the year she was born, so I hit the internet!

* The average cost of a new home was $5,750!

* My favorite board game, Monopoly was invented

* The chocolate chip cookie was invented

* 1933 was the worst year of the depression

* The Drive-in movie theater was invented

* On September 10th, the first Negro League All-Start game occurred.

It is no secret that mom and I rarely see eye to eye (I’m laughing), but that has no impact on the love or affection that I have for her.  Every other day we disagree about something (I’m dead serious), but I still show her the respect she deserves.

While I don’t agree with some of her methods of raising me, I am certain that my daughter can say the same about me.  It is what it is.  I think it is Oprah who says, when you know better, you do better.

There are no do-overs in life, I affirm that each generation should learn from the previous generation and raise the bar with regards to everything—education, parenting, careers, etc…

I am grateful and happy that she is still going strong!  Mom is still independent.  Today, if you even look at her the wrong way or mess with her kids (there are two of us) or her favorite sisters, she will give you the cussin out of a lifetime.  Lol!!  Years ago she’d slap you in a heartbeat.  Haaaahaaa!   Though it wasn’t funny then.

Anyways, I give props to mom because she empowered me and taught me to be the strong, to be resilient, to be independent, fight for I want (figuratively & literally), and to be the bad ass and confident daughter that I am today.  Hehe!  Funny but true.  Thanks mom!!

Never wanting anyone to make a fuss over her on birthday, I’m not sure how she’d feel about this post, but I plan on sharing it with her (later) in a very special way.

Happy Birthday Mother!!!

Honoring All Pro Moms: Clean out your lockers today

“…You have to work hard, you have to have consistency, [and] you have to do it day in and day out…”

Tony Dungy

The passage is written by Tony Dungy in the forward of, Fatherhood: Rising to the ultimate challenge, by Etan Thomas with Nick Chiles.

Loyal football fans, women and men are very familiar with Tony Dungy from the National Football League. The now retired Indianapolis head coach and National Football player described some of the qualities that he believes are essential to the title of “Pro Football Player.”  Dungy mentions, All Pro Dads, an organiation that he worked with when he was in Tampa. The organization’s title is derived from the makings of a professional football player.

As I read his description, I thought to myself, “Good moms have the same qualities as professional athletes!”  Not to take anything from Pro ball players and All Pro Dads, but you know exactly what I mean. You work hard; either in the home, outside of the home or both.

You tirelessly prepare meals, shuttle your kids to gymnastics, football, soccer, tutoring or some other activity. You make sure that clean undies are on standby for everyone in the home. You might coördinate schedules, doctor appointments, vacations, back –to-school night, and or anything else that needs to be squeezed into the daily schedule.

I Googled “All Pro Dads” and “All Pro Moms,” both netted the All Pro Dads blog, but very little related to the similar concept for the moms. The dad’s blog featured a current post, “A day to honor moms.” I also discovered, Keeper of the Home, an interesting Christian home maker’s blog… definitely worth checking out.

My point here is that Mother’s Day is indeed a special day, even with all the commercialization from big business. The point of Mother’s Day, as a far as I’m concerned, is to set aside time to recognize and to thank the moms or mother like figures in our life. Mothers, grand moms, nana’s, me-moms, aunts, and the rest. Show them much love and do something special for them.

When I recall all the strong women in my life who took part in me becoming the strong woman who I am today, I know that one day isn’t enough.

Why not start an All Pro Moms movement! We can get carried away and change the traditional “happy hour” to “All Pro Moms hour!” Your All Prom Mom hour can be celebrated any hour of the day in any way that you chose. Take a day off and do whatever you want. Some of you may already do this on occasion, but I say we make this official. I say effective today; start marking your calendars at work and at home with All Pro Moms (APM) Days penned in. Of course we’ll have to define this day so that the men in our lives will understand that All Pro Moms Day means, we are not cooking, cleaning, or doing anything else.

If you’re asked what is an All Pro Mom?  You ask, “Do you know what a  pro-ball player is?”  If they answer yes, then tell them, you’re the same in your profession as a mom, but without the inflated salary.

If the response is no, then break it down for him. You know! “I work hard every day in preparing our kids for the “big game” (life).”  You train and make sacrifices, suffer injuries, and more. What is the major difference between the two? We rarely ever get to “clean out our lockers” at the end of the season.

You never turn mothering off, even when your children are adults; you’re still there for them and sometimes others that you take under your wing along the way. Applaud yourself!

Happy Mother’s Day and…

Welcome to the All Pro Mom’s Club!

Acceptance or change?

“…A Psychologist told me that to change; I have to want to change.  Well I don’t want to change, and I’m going to stay just the way I am!”

Were the adamant words recently spoken by my mom. For seven years, I’ve lived with this mindset of hers and, although we’ve come to somewhat of an understanding, every now and then we have our moments.

On Thanksgiving Day, mom stepped, what I refer to as, out of her lane.  Mom didn’t like the way her niece (my cousin) had styled her 12-year old daughter’s hair and felt compelled to tell her niece so.  She delivered an awfully harsh and cruel opinion that was unsolicited and inappropriate.

I politely reminded mom that if she didn’t have anything nice to say, to say nothing at all.  Mom feels as though if she sees something that’s “not right” it is her duty to comment.  As tough as my response may sound, I have continually asked her, who deemed her judge and jury?   She dislikes my response, but cannot understand how her comments adversely affect others.

She has an abrasive and strong personality that can strike you in the jaw like a stiff upper cut.  I know how to weave and bob and respond to her blows, but not everyone can say that.

Mom knows most of my friends, and for the most part, is pretty cool with them.  Thankfully, they’ve come to know and love “Grand-mom Dynamite,” as she is affectionately called.

The recent passing of my mother-in-law and hubby’s wonderful relationship with his mom got me to thinking about me and mine.  When are we going to click? Will we ever mesh?  It’s not like I’m not trying.  Lol!!   We disagree on everything and I mean everything.

Although there’s no animosity, our daily conversations are limited to the pleasantries of “Good Morning,” “Good Afternoon,” “Good Night,” “How was your day?” “Dinner is ready,” and a few other light exchanges. I would like more from our relationship, but perhaps this is as good as it gets.

She already said that she’s not changing, so I guess the ball’s in my court.  To be fair and to bridge the gap, I’ve looked within myself to figure out where I can make change.  I have and continue to work on my patience. Her childhood was difficult and I try to be mindful of that.  I’ve forgiven her for past actions and for whatever the future holds.

I think I am at peace with what we have, but a small piece of me still wishes it could be better. Who knows, maybe our relationship will change…maybe it will stay the same… maybe it will get better.

Our present relationship is certainly an improvement over our past relationship, so I’m trying to preserve what we have.  The deficiencies in my relationship with my mom is certainly compensated in my relationship with my children and for that I am thankful.

Lessons in Motherhood

There is no doubt in my mind that the dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship has many layers and  at some point in time, it all comes full circle. My relationship with my mother is complicated, and has been since my early teens.  Is it the same for all mother-daughters?  I hope not, but I do realize that both mothers’ and daughters” go through phases that can bring about conflict. Is it the same for father-sons relationships?  I don’t know.

Anyway, with regards to my mother, the subject of “Respect” is an issue.  The question/challenge/issue is, that there’s a very fine line when it comes to respecting your mother, while politely- encouraging— then demanding that your mother respects your adult child, who by the way, is quite respectful to grand mom.   Whoa!  That’s a mouthful, but it is some serious stuff and I know, that I cannot be the only daughter on this planet dealing with this nonsense.

About a week ago, I found myself engaged in serious discussion.  Ha! Ha!  I’m laughing because the “discussion” is the politically correct term.  The truth of the matter is that, the argument was a scene that was ideal for one of the many current outrageous reality TV shows. I know that some people might ask, why am I airing my dirty laundry out there for all to know.  And my answer is quite simple:  People need to know that they are not alone in the challenges that they face in life.  I truly believe that when you’re going through a difficult time, it helps (at least for me) to know, that you’re not the only one having gone through it.  I have learned so much from others and hope that someone out there can learn from my experiences.   My personal opinion is that all too often, issues are kept a secret (especially) in some families- and some secrets do more harm than good.  Note that I said some.

All right, back on track now.  So right in front of hubby, our young son, and me and without cause, my mom rudely insulted and disrespected my daughter.  When I attempted to respectfully correct her, she shifted into high gear and vehemently defended herself.  At one point, I felt like I was having an outer body experience.  I felt myself looking at the situation as though I was viewing it from a cloud or somewhere high above.  At that moment, I realized that I needed to take a stance, make my position clear and just deal with the consequences.  I dug deep inside and told my mother all that has been on my mind.  We visited some places that we hadn’t visited in a long time, but with a much different perspective.  She tried to walk away, but I wouldn’t let her; because she needed to know how her sharp words impact and hurt others.  My daughter tried to respectfully defend herself to her grand mother, but I told her that this was my battle, not hers.  The dialogue continued but I don’t think my mother really heard or understood anything I said, which is how it’s always been.  In the end, we (mother and I) agreed that alternative living arrangements should be made.  We’re working on that now and it really was inevitable.

Meanwhile, as I look through the glass that’s half full and reflect on my relationship with my mother, I realize that I’ve learned some important lessons from her.  I’ve learned:

1.    That my mother is the kind of person who needs her own space.  She cannot live with others.  It doesn’t make her good, bad, or evil, it’s just a fact
2.    To credit my mother for giving me the thick skin that I’ve grown over the years
3.    To thank my mother for teaching me how to be a genuinely nice person
4.    To always tell my children that I love them and to hug them several times each day
5.    To allow my children a look inside my heart and soul so they may understand the person that I’ve become
6.    To forgive and to never hold grudges
7.    To apologize when I’m wrong
8.    To see the good in people
9.    To get to know my daughter; go to the beauty salon, movies, nail salon, etc… with her
10.  Don’t be a part of racism and prejudice; instead treat people the same way that I want to treated

Have my mother and I gone full circle yet?  I don’t know for certain, but I don’t think so.  My heart tells me that there’s more to this story, but only time will tell.