Archive | May 2011

Gimme A Break

As much as I like to get my blog posted on time, this week I am thankful that I missed yesterday’s deadline. I began a blog about relying upon the strength of the family and before I could get it finished, edited, and published today arrived.  Today has been a very odd day for me.  I have encountered numerous situations regarding communication and began to ponder upon that topic for a minute.  My thought was that I would change the blog to one on communication.  Then, I picked up my journal that I have faithfully written in for the past 55 days straight.  As I reached for it I realized that I did not write it in it yesterday.  This recognition caused quite a degree of disappointment in me.  I had been so proud that I was able to maintain my commitment to writing daily  as I was seeing the manifestation of the things I was writing about in this very specific journal.  And then I missed a day!  Almost immediately, my feeling of disappointment was replaced by the lesson.  The lesson is simply – GIVE YOURSELF  A BREAK. 

The purpose of life is to learn lessons in order to grow.  Within the parameters of learning we all make mistakes.  Thus mistakes are simply opportunities to learn.  No more, no less.    So, if ultimately you are continuously growing you are fulfilling your purpose and all is well.  The only one who is counting all of the mistakes is you.  Think about that for a minute.  I know that we all have people in our lives who are negative and hold our shortcomings against us.  That is their problem and issue not yours.  Recognize that they, like you, are a work in progress and forgive them for also being imperfect and move on.  Their path to growth is theirs.  Y0u will remain a lot more centered, happy, and at peace if you focus on your path while  leaving them to theirs.

Many people hold themselves to a requirement of perfection.  When they fail to meet the requirement they are very disappointed.  I completely understand and agree with having goals- even lofty goals.  But God does not require perfection of us.  For you to hold yourself to that standard is unrealistic.  Doing your best is the only requirement.  Give it your all.  Aim for the top.  We all know all of the clichés and they are good ones.  Being perfect is not in any of the clichés.   So, when you show yourself to be less than perfect give yourself a break.

I am grateful that my lessons continue to lead toward a place of peace and forgiveness.  I forgive myself when I am imperfectly perfect 🙂  and I forgive others recognizing that we are all works in progress.  For me, the interesting thing about life is that most people seem to arrive at where they are supposed to be.  Not where someone else determines they are to be but where the universe determines they are best served.  I love to hear others share their lessons and have become more comfortable with sharing mine.  Sometimes, though, I have to say to myself “gimme a break.”  I am thankful for this lesson today.  I know that I must commit to following it daily.  It is important.  We are all good enough.  Yes sometimes we can try harder or do better.  But even in that, it is your lesson and your path.  Do your best and give yourself a break.  Today’s big deal is tomorrow’s chuckle.  Most things aren’t that serious.  A lot of the really serious things are beyond our control.  Remember the universe wants the best for you.  This knowledge is helpful.

Spread love… Peace and Blessings

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Recognize and Count Your Blessings

For the past 49 days I have been writing a Pray Rain Journal.  It is based upon the principles of the Law of Attraction and essentially is an exercise in appreciating the life you see yourself having before it is actualized.  As a part of this exercise, I end every entry with “Thank you Lord for these and all my blessings.  Thank you for the blessings I am receiving.”  So, though I am self-actualizing my future I am also thankful for the blessings I am receiving in this moment and all that I will receive. My pastor recommended this as part of a sermon one Sunday and it really resonated with me.  Part of my blessings come from the people I am blessed to have in my life.  Today I will share with you some of the people who are blessings to me in my life and how.  I live to learn from other people.

My parents – Joyce and John Smith taught me to spread my wings and never be afraid to fly or fall.  John taught me how to give your kids the gift of your friendship (once they are adults).  Cameron Bright taught me to have an appreciation for mental illness free of judgement and that it is never too late to ask for forgiveness.

Shawn Oliver and Vince Adams- have taught me that no friendship is perfect but unconditional love within the confines of friendship is possible;  and that it is CERTAINLY possible for men and women to be “just friends.”

Devera Zainal (Bollywood Granny for my Facebook family) – has taught me the value of being totally comfortable in one’s own skin and being totally accepting of self.

Anthony Jordan and Mike Edwards- have taught me the value of using reason rather than emotion.  Sorry fellas I don’t get there all the time,  but I appreciate your perspective.  You both work hard to keep me straight.

Tamela Daniels,  Deanna Dean, Shawn Gatewood, Cathy Hughey, Susan Reynolds, Geanene Balentine, Caryn Lee and Dawna King- have taught me the value of sister/friends in ways I did not appreciate until recently.

Cassie Kramer- has taught me the value of spirituality and having a daily, tangible connection with God even in the worst of circumstances.  She has also taught me the concept of unselfish giving.

Cheryl Glenn, Niki Savage, Cheron Bishop, Darrin Milling, Chris Melvin, and Romera Ferguson have taught me the value of framily- family who are also friends.  Cheron has shown a wonderful example of how it is NEVER too late to make amends.  Cheryl has shown me the immense value of networking.

Jerlyn Owens has taught me the value of an open mind and appreciating my similarities with a person more than my differences.

My friend Georgette Kiser has taught me the value of shaking if off and moving on.  Her mom Annie Thompson has taught me how unshakable faith can have amazing odds-defying results.  Her life is a visual example of never give up.

In the evolution of the person who is Tirani I have learned and am constantly learning from the above mentioned parties.  They are not alone.  I have many others from whom lessons have been learned which on the surface may not be cheerful.  My focus is to take all experiences and draw positive lessons from them.  Thus, every day I thank God for these and ALL of my blessings and look at my life as one big blessing.  Feel free to share your blessings.  I would love to hear them.  Peace and Blessings  is more than a catch phrase.  It is my goal in life- to life in peace counting my blessings.

Peace and blessings

The Road Less Traveled By

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by”    Robert Frost

I took the one less traveled by.  I took the one less traveled by.   “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is one of the most famous poems in american literary history.  Even if you don’t know the poem in its entirety you know the tag “I took the one less traveled.”  So famous is the tag that many believe that is the name of the poem.  While it sounds glamorous to say,  traveling this road is not for the fainthearted.  The road less traveled is an adventure into the unknown.  The rewards however, though unknown, are often greater.

Taking the road less traveled is a daunting task.  It is not worn smooth.  To make your way along takes some effort.  Many would turn back.  There is debris along the way combined with low hanging branches.  You may fall down.  You may get scratched and bruised.  Many will not understand why you didn’t “just take the easy route.”  They really don’t understand why you continue along the way though hurt.

For those who take the road less traveled by, it is not necessarily a choice.  It is a way of life .  They have never taken the easy route.  They don’t exactly know why it is so.  I believe they are wired to be that way.  Traveling this road requires bravery.  Not the slaying dragons type of bravery but bravery to stand up to the doubt, questions, accusations, taunting thrown your way by those walking on the safe path.  They don’t necessarily mean any harm, but they are wired the “normal” way.  They believe why do something the hard way when the easy path has already been worn?  Life, for them, is not necessarily about the journey.  It is about getting to the end.  There is no right or wrong road.  It just depends on how you are wired.

Most entrepreneurs and certainly ALL inventors take the road less traveled by.  One must be willing to endure a great deal of scrutiny to come up with something new- either business or product idea.  Some people think they are entrepreneurs if they own a franchise or their own, for example, Mary Kay business.  While this is most certainly an admirable undertaking, I’m speaking about not the reps but Mary Kay Ash  herself or the inventor of the Flowbee for the purposes of this discussion.

Most entertainers are taking the road less traveled.  For as many success stories as you see, do you understand how many others lie broken and beaten on the side of the road- fallen victim to sacrificing everything to pursue their dream?  The same can be said of athletes. Sometimes it is not so global of an undertaking but more of the small details.  The high school graduate who is leaving home to go hundreds of miles way to become educated in a city where no family resides while all of his/her friends remain local is an example.  The person who is willing to travel to foreign lands to work because they have a burning desire to see the world that can not be quenched is another.  The person who gets a college or even more advanced education but chooses to do grassroots work in the community while their counterparts pursue careers with six figure incomes is a third.  All of these people are making their way along the road less traveled by- not always because they want to but because they have to.  It is part of their DNA.

So I say to the weary traveler as you rest on the side of the path.  Rest, but don’t stop pressing.  Don’t let the “others” get you down.  They don’t and won’t understand you.  That’s okay.  Just BE you.  And if the path you are walking dead ends or gets too rough, don’t fret.  There is another fork up ahead and another road less traveled by.  Press on warrior.

Motherhood- A Tough Job But I Love To Do It

This year, more than any other, I have taken a long look at what it means to  be a mother, how we define our effectiveness/worth as mothers, and how much my children and my mother mean to me.  I’ve looked at motherhood through the eyes of both mothers and fathers and here are some of the things I’ve learned /conclusions I’ve come to:

1.  You NEVER, EVER stop being a mother.  Whether your child is 7 months, 7 years or 7 decades old, if you are alive you still want to protect them from any and all negativity and harm.

2.  Whether you are a single parent, an intact couple, or co-parenting you are still your children’s mother.  This is regardless of how much time they spend with you.

“Traditional families” and traditional roles within the family are shifting.  Some dads are “Mr. Mom” either by choice, circumstance, or vocation.  More and more women are afforded the chance by the men in their lives to expand their professional horizons while the men take care of the kid(s).  With the divorce rate  remaining constant at about 50%, many children are co-parented.   There are also a number of single, never married, parents who also co-parent.  We are moving past the point in our society where we assume that because a woman does not have her child(ren) with her, does not have custody, or is pursuing professional goals that she is a bad mother.   Though the time together may be affected, both the children and the mother still feel the ever-present bond of motherhood.

3.  Motherhood is the most undervalued job on the planet.

Yes, both men and women serve as parents, but the woman puts in almost a year in advance to get the baby here.  If anything goes wrong during the gestational period, the baby is oftentimes affected for life.  Though it is not talked about as often, a mother puts her life at risk to bring a baby to life.  There is gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and a host of other potentially fatal symptoms associated with childbirth,  and though she may sometimes make her kids aware of said fact, few realize how true it actually is (before adulthood that is. )

4.  You do not have to give birth to a child to a mother it.  There are grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, church members, members of the community, teachers- all of whom often play very vital roles in the rearing of a child.

5.  Mother’s Day is not about the gifts, or what is served as a meal.  Most mothers just REALLY want to know (even if it is only on a mandated date) that their efforts are truly appreciated and that they are loved.  That truly is the best gift of all.

6.  The greatest gifts for any occasion don’t come from the store but come from the heart.

A handwritten poem, something personally made by my kids is really all I need.

7.  Thanking the people in your life for their contributions to your life on a regular basis ought to become our goal.  If accomplished, Mother’s Day is just another Hallmark moment and not the end all, be all.

8.  Treasure your children while you have them.  You never know what twist of fate may change your circumstances.

Finding Cheer Where There Is None

Every once in a while everyone gets to the point where life’s circumstances kind of weigh you down a bit.  Even if you are a normally cheerful person, you may find that a combination of events can steal a little of that cheer and try to take you to darker places.  It is at those times when who you  truly are will rise to the surface.  You can give in to the gloom of those moments, or make the effort to continue to look at all the beauty in life.

I will be the first to admit that I am currently in one of those periods.  More importantly I am aware that this period of challenge will last for longer than a moment or two.  Compound that with the additional challenge of being “there” for a number of friends who are either ill or suffering the loss of a close relative and well, it can be a little bit much.

Can be…but, here is what I’ve decided to point out to myself (changes daily but this is today’s list):

1.  Every day above ground is  a blessing.

2. The sun is shining, flowers are in bloom, birds are singing, Spring is here.

3.  I am healthy have not had so much as a cold in over three years, I have  a wonderful trainer who is helping me transform my body, my gym is one of my sanctuaries.

4.  My children act and behave as children today do, but they love me unconditionally, are excellent students, are goal oriented, and try hard to do the “right” thing.  I can’t ask for much more.

5.  I have a family who cares about and supports me even if they don’t always agree with me, and more importantly when the rubber meets the road they always come through.

6.  I am blessed.  What I consider challenges are a good day to some people.  I am so aware that many people have far greater challenges than I.  I say a prayer for relief  for them and of thanksgiving for me.

7.  Life is not designed for us to breeze through it.  If a person appears untouched by challenges their “turn” may just not have come yet. Don’t look to trade tragedies or triumphs with another.  Your tragedies and triumphs are uniquely yours.  If you recognize that they serve a positive purpose, they are a lot easier to tolerate.   Remember nothing is so bad that it can’t get better.  When you get to that point, you will MOST CERTAINLY know it.  Until then, enjoy life.

This is this week’s list for me.  Thank you for indulging me on what is an extremely personal post.  You may see more.  As I mentioned this season will not be short-lived.  I welcome the lessons it shall bring and know that I will emerge on the other side triumphant and better for having gone through the process.

"Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. 
Never make a negative decision in the low
time. Never make your most important 
decisions when you are in your worst moods.
Wait. Be patient.The storm will pass.
The spring will come." -- Robert H. Schuller 
 
Spread love... peace and blessings.