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How Much Is Too Much To Share?

We are at an interesting time in history.  I was raised in an era where I was taught “what goes on this house stays in this house.”

Those times have changed. We live in an era of social networking. Every thing we think, feel, and do gets recorded for prosperity.  There are those who use social media to share their deepest thoughts. Others hide behind the anonymity of it.  They express themselves in ways and say things that they would never say directly to someone’s face. We saw the most blatant examples of this during the most recent election cycle.

In this era of bloggers, personal websites, etc. it has become apparent that in order to gain readers, advertisers, additional clicks and the likes one has to show their human side. Naturally that involves sharing details of your life.

But the question begs to be answered: how much is too much? l find that people’s opinion on this topic varies depending on their degree of social engagement. Those with low to moderate engagement question why folks would share so much information with “the whole world.” Those with a greater level of interaction are more tolerant of the sharing but generally keep certain aspects of their lives more private than others.

My opinion is that it’s all a matter of personal choice. For some sharing is cathartic. I don’t think it’s for others to judge. I just suggest caution. If you’re sharing information/pictures that can be used against you- especially in an employment situation, then please beware. If you are sharing personal information about your children especially young children, be VERY careful.  My rule for many years was not to share photos of my children or their names. As they’ve grown older (and reached adulthood in one case) I’ve relaxed my stance somewhat. But more often than not they’re still “the boy” (now referred to as the man) and “the girl.”

The bottom line is do you, Boo but be careful.  It’s not always safe out here in these internet streets.

Spread Love,

Peace and Blessings

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Press On and Shine!

TSP

I am 61 days away from a major milestone birthday. For at least the past 6 months I’ve found myself in continual reflection of my life, my purpose and my legacy. I expect that this will continue up to and thru my golden year.

Yesterday I saw news of the passing of a lady I met only once (she’s the one in the middle in the above picture). I’m slightly shocked about the magnitude of my emotions regarding this news. I wondered “why is this hitting me so hard?” And then I stopped to think. I don’t know her, but I KNOW her! You see in the years that we’ve been Facebook friends I’ve come to know her: her family (Ben, the kids, sister Michelle, etc), her ideals (not all of which I agreed with), and her passions. We were FAMUly (graduates of the same university), had mutual friends, and shared a love of family and Facebook. As I’ve gone through the rest of last night and today, I’m noting the numerous tributes from those who never met Trisha. I’m touched by how many lives she touched. As I think about the little I knew of her life over the years and I think about my own future I’d like to share:

Lessons I’ve Learned from Patricia Sherfield Polite:

1. No matter what life throws at you PRESS on!
Press was Trisha’s tag after her initial breast cancer diagnosis. Once she made the choice to reveal the news to others, she went on to become a major fundraiser for Susan G. Komen, a spokeswoman for Cancer Centers of America and tireless speaker on behalf of breast cancer.

2. Face life with a smile and a golden spirit.
I remember when we met, precancer, and what a joy she was in person. I sometimes disagreed with her viewpoints but when my friend and I saw her in the GA dome we both said “there’s Trisha.” As we approached she turned with that smile and her lovely, sweet southern drawl and said “Hey y’all. It’s my facebook friends!” and of course we took an usie.

3. It’s ok to let people know who you are.
Trisha shared a lot- about her family, her friends her thoughts, and because of her sharing she touched lives of those who knew her and those who’ve never made her acquaitance. I remember sharing with her that I’d dreamed about the entire family and how odd I felt it was. Me: I’ve never even met your kids. Her: I talk about them ALL the time. Of course you feel like you know them.

She also shared (once she decided to) about her desire to PRESS on through Cancer. She invited us into her triumph story. In doing so, she endeared herself to all.

4. Live life on your terms and offer no apologies
Trisha lived a good life! She had a good job, a good marriage, and loved her kids. You didn’t have to like it if your own life was miserable but she was not going to downplay her blessings because it made others possibly feel some sort of way. Trisha loved Ben Polite in a way that we could all feel. She celebrated their love in particular and black love in general for the entire month of December- EVERY year. So if the example of her life inspires you to a better life, then her job was accomplished.

5. Love and celebrate your friends
Some of us have friends and some of us are part of a sisterhood. Yes, Trisha was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, but more importantly she was a part of tight girls network with an iron like bond. They are there for one another, PERIOD! I’m guilty! Sometimes my friends and I lose touch or let distance, hurt feelings, assumptions, misconceptions come between us. Not Trisha and her girls! Nope they are HERE for one another. ALWAYS!!! And that inspires me to do better and to be a better friend.

I’m sure this list is not comprehensive, but as I sit here typing in the midst of my midlife emotions I pay tribute to a beautiful lady which a spirit that will continue to shine. I will not be there on Saturday to pay tribute to her. This is my way.

Press on and Shine Trisha!!!!

Family Matters

In meditation this morning, on the tail end of hurricane Sandy, I began to reflect upon the concept of family.  As I lay there, I realized that there is a difference between relatives and family.  Relatives are those people to whom we happen to be related by blood, either closely or distantly, but whom we don’t really know.  I was thinking about some first cousins of mine.  One in particular I couldn’t name her children (except for the oldest) and I’m certain she couldn’t name mine or pick them out of a lineup.

I’m not saying that this is a good thing.  I think that it a sad state of affairs. I have other first cousins for whom I could not name ANY of their children.  Family should know each other better.  But I guess all of your relatives aren’t always family.  You just don’t really know them like that- especially if you come from a larger family that is somewhat spread out.

Yet, while I was thinking on the subject I realized that some family is not made of relatives.  They are the family of our choosing- friends whom we value as much as family and love like siblings.  We know not only their kids but extended family all by name and maybe birthday.  They are there when we need them when we call and often times even when we don’t.

In my last few moments of reflection I came to some conclusions.  There are some relatives who I need to get a little closer to.  It is even time to check in with some of my family whom I haven’t hollered at in a minute.  But the bottom line is my little vagabond family (those blood relatives and those not) are mine.  I love them all to pieces.  It is very important to treasure those we love and to let them know exactly how much they mean to us.  Life is precious and short.  Nothing is promised.  Living life to the fullest, for me, involves spending precious time with my family and enjoying every minute of it.

The Point of It All

In life there are always times of stability and times of change.  Sometimes the change is welcomed and initiated by us.  Sometimes it beyond our control, but as the song says “a change is gonna come.”  My life is in a period of deep change and growth at the moment.  Most of it, thankfully, is desired.  I am learning, however, through this change that I am not as “together” as I fancied myself to be.  There are lots of lessons that I am learning and that… perhaps … probably is the point of it all.

(This is one of those blogs that is really written entirely for me, but I have learned that when I write these so many others relate as well.  We truly are all more alike than we are different.)  As I navigate through this process of change here are some of the lessons I am learning.  The good thing is that the journey is not over and thus this list is incomplete.  The bad thing is… the list is incomplete. 😉

1.  Don’t sabotage your own happiness

Bad/trying/hard times don’t last always.  Eventually they go away. The tide turns and things begin to look up.  The grass is greener and the roses are in bloom.  Why are you then checking the Farmer’s Almanac to see when the next drought is set to hit?!  The beauty of the happy times come from actually appreciating them.  If we become so stuck in the rut of what is wrong we deprive ourselves from living in the happiness of the moment of this is good and all is right.

2.  Don’t second guess everything

You are perfectly capable of making good decisions.  Sometimes you will err on the side of caution.  Sometimes you are not cautious enough.  All that being said, things generally work out as they should.  Don’t sweat it.  Life goes on, this too shall pass, it’s all small stuff (and five thousand other clichés that are true).

3.  Appreciate those who are in it for the long haul

Most people are around for the good times- when the money is flowing, the kids are behaving perfectly, you are extending invitations to all of the events.  Yup, they are there and in the amen corner singing your praises and loving some you.  BUT, when the chips are down, when circumstances are not fully to their understanding and you exercise your God-given right not to explain yourself, or when others have turned against you they lose your number and forget where you live.  This will be some people. Others wouldn’t dare leave you.  They support, celebrate and love you even when you don’t love yourself.  Those cheerleaders are not doing it for fame or recognition, but they must realize how much you appreciate them.  This must be done in their language of which there are a few.  If you don’t acknowledge them in their way, they may not ever realize how grateful you are.  This may take some effort to decipher but it isn’t it worth the time for someone who has always had time for you?

4.  Life is not consistent.  Everything must change. 

That being said, those who are in your corner may change.  Those whom you value may change.  Those who loved you yesterday may be very underwhelmed today.  It’s all good. It’s life.  Let it change.  Grow with it. You may not be comfortable with change but it will happen and is often for the best.

5.  Patience really is a virtue and your lack of it may cause undesired results. 

Another way to express this is: you don’t control everything.  Many people are uncomfortable with feeling out of control.  Learn to accept the fun in not having to know it all and do it all.  Let someone cater to you.  Wait for the love instead of trying to force it with the wrong person.  Everything that is yours is coming to you if you are open to receiving it.  That does not mean the picture will look as you envisioned it on your vision board.  But it does mean that you will get what you are supposed to have.

6.  Love trumps all.

Envy, deceit, turmoil and deception have nothing on love.  We are full of the spirit of love.  If we let it surface and don’t worry about the possible resulting repercussions we live settled, more peaceful lives.

7 .  Sometimes you can revisit the past. 

This is a proceed with caution lesson.  You can go back to unfinished business but you have to monitor your expectations.  There are no guarantees in life, but sometimes there is reward to be found.  Remember though that those who loved you in the past may not love you now and those who didn’t like you may now love you.  This seems to be surprisingly relevant to old schoolmates.  Time mellows us all, and most of us are more similar than different.  Sometimes, it just takes us a while to realize that.

8. Don’t allow your fear of prosperity to keep you from success. 

(this is kissing cousin to #1 issue of sabotage)  Sometimes we live the way we do because we are afraid to live another way.  We are comfortable with what we know.  We don’t want to go out on the ledge to do something new, or different or *gasp* scary.  Our comfort zone is perfectly fine with us thank you very much.  So, unconsciously we keep ourselves stagnant and mediocre.  Soaring, excelling, being all that we can be and being proud look like they would bring their own challenges of jealousy, envy, and unwanted attention so we stay with what we know. We bemoan our circumstances not realizing that we are subconsciously doing everything that we can to stay put.  Living a full and prosperous life (not just financially) may appear daunting but is highly rewarding (or so I’ve heard and read by those who live it).  The trials of living well can’t be as draining as the the task of living in want and having a sub par existence.  Don’t be afraid to soar because others (may) talk about you.  Eagles are meant to SOAR alone.

9.  Put the voice in your head on mute.

I am  a strong advocate of following my own intuition, but I also realize that there is absolutely NO ONE who drives me more crazy than me! Sometimes we just need to tell the voice in our head to shut up while we enjoy the beauty of the moment.  If it screams a long, loud warning I suggest you listen, but there is no need to over think EVERYTHING.  Sometimes you need to just BE and live in the moment.  Most of the time the voice is listening to or focused on the most inane sideline matters anyway and not the main point.

These are my lessons. They are  meant especially to address shortcomings within me.  I’m a
work in progress but I am doing the work. Sometimes it is painful.  Sometimes I feel alone.  Most times I know that is a feeling and is not reality.  The bottom line is I have  a lot more living left to do.  I’ve got miles to go before I sleep and I might as well enjoy the scenery and the ride as I move down the track.  Derailments rarely happen.  Life is good and a gift to be appreciated.  Enjoy and appreciate the joy in every moment.

Peace and Blessings

Birthday Musings

Well it’s that time- albeit a little delayed this year. Every year I take time to review my life.  This generally takes place on New Year’s Day and my birthday(7/1).  Well, we are officially 15 days past my birthday.  Life’s circumstances delayed me putting pen to paper or fingers to keys, as it were, this year but I definitely put in the time for reflection.  So, at the ripe young age of 47 here’s what I’ve learned so far.  Some lessons came a while ago while some are very recent.  Regardless of the timing, they are things I now hold as true.

1.  I can’t change anyone but myself.  While this is definitely true, what is even more true is that though I will not ask anyone to change who they are for me I am firm in what is not acceptable behavior for/toward me.  You don’t have to change, but I don’t have to tolerate it either!

2. Most people are good at heart.  The more you accept that, the more people will show you how good they really are.  (another way of stating that most people live up to your expectations)

3.  Age is definitely a state of mind.  I’m 47 but still 25 in my mind.  I think constantly relating to my inner child helps me look younger.

4.  You have to take care of your mind, body, and soul.  You can amass money and for some that is the ultimate goal.  But those funds will not keep you out of the doctor’s office, off of medication and off of the operating table.

5.  You can’t choose your family, but often times when the rubber meets the road you will find that they are truly there for you.

6.  You really do have to power to change your life simply based on what you think.  The Law of Attraction is real.  If you don’t believe me, try some of the principles yourself and prove me wrong.  I’ll wait; you won’t.  😉

7.  Some things have changed from the old days but I don’t HAVE to change with them if the change is not for the best.  This deserves its own blog as it cannot be summarized in a sentence or two.

8.  You can’t make me hate you, cause I won’t! Hate is not in my vocabulary especially in reference to another person.  We all have God within us.  If I recognize the God in you it is impossible for me to hate you.  The God in me can’t hate itself. I choose to see you for your best, even when you display your worst.

9.  When you spread love it comes back to you magnified.  Most of you know this is a principal that I live by.  Spread love.

10.  Tell people you love them; often!

11.  Don’t force people to jump through hoops to prove their love for you. It’s unnecessary, tiring, and leads to resentment.

12.  Be willing to see your own faults and learn from your mistakes. No one is perfect and that includes you.  It’s ok.  Cut yourself some slack.  No one expects you to be perfect.

13.  Life goes on.  Unless you die, you get the opportunity to live another day.  That is a gift.  Try as much as possible to live in the present and see the present for the gift that it is.

14.  Your time and attention are two of the greatest gifts you can give a person.  Give someone your undivided attention sometimes and see what a difference it makes in your communication.

15.  Be willing to see the other person’s point of view.  That doesn’t mean you have to agree with it, but by seeing it you will find an understanding.

16.  Be willing to admit when you are wrong.

17.  Don’t give up.

18.  Laugh often – especially at yourself.

19.  See your children as the individuals that they are and appreciate your time with them.  It will be gone before you know it.

20.  When you are surrounded by friends who love, support, and encourage you, you can survive anything. Again, I could write an entire blog around this.

21. You are stronger than you think you.  Most of us don’t know what we are capable of until we are presented with a situation. It’s when things are at their worst that we sometimes see what we are really made of.

22.  Be willing to laugh (even at yourself) loud and often.  There are a lot of serious things that occur in life, but there is a lot of funny stuff as well.  Laughter is healing.  Never take yourself so seriously that you can’t enjoy a good laugh.

Didn’t Win the Mega Millions But Still A Lottery Winner

We all had it- Mega Millions FEVER!  Even those who “normally don’t play the lottery” joined into the fray.  Who can scoff?  $640 million dollars on a chance with just a $1 investment.  Why, you’d be a fool not to buy at least one ticket, right? RIGHT!!!

So here I am, lil ole me, claiming that prize all week. I mean I was putting all of the Laws of Attraction to work to claim the money.  All good.  So now it’s time to wait.

I fell asleep watching t.v. on Friday after hearing the winning numbers (but not checking my ticket).  I awakened about 2:45 a.m.  to “get in the bed” and saw a text from a friend in Chicago: “Did you win?  $640 million dollar winner in MD.”  *insert dramatic heartbeat music* But I still didn’t check.  I returned to sleep.  Well, about an hour before I was due to awaken on Saturday I guess my subconscious mind could no longer take the drama.  I awakened to check my ticket.  😦  I am not the winner.  I’ve got extra time to kill now so I mosey onto Facebook.  I’ve got an inbox message “1 winner.  Ticket sold in Baltimore County.”  *turn up volume on dramatic heartbeat music*  I’m thinking… I’m thinking… well I know it’s not me but it could be someone I know.  Look at my timeline and see a message written by a fellow mom from my kids’ old school  “ticket sold at 7-11 on Liberty Rd.”  O_O!!!! Now this thing is getting serious.  This is very close to home.  “Which 7-11?” I wonder as I think to myself “if it’s the one in the strip mall where I elected to get my ticket at the liquor store instead I’m going to be SIIIIIIICK!”  Turn on the t.v.  All of the news crews are at the 7-11 on Liberty Rd at Milford Mill Blvd.  Well, not my immediate neighborhood but definitely my acre of the woods.

It’s Monday now and we have more info.  There were 3 lucky people who will share in this record-breaking pot (lucky dogs).  3 tickets sold in 3 different states. The MD winner has not yet come forth but we do know that at the time of that purchase they bought a single random ticket .  So yes folks, 1 dollar is ALL that it takes.  Alas, I did not win the Mega Millions (this time) but I am still such a winner in the lottery of life.  And so my friends are you.

When I think of all of my blessings, I realize that I have things no money can buy or make better:

1.  I was born into a wonderful family.  Yes, there is a degree of dysfunction, but there is love and caring in abundance.  My family has my back and my best interest at heart.  They are there for me and I them.

2.  I have the best set of friends.   If it is true that you attract what you are, then I’m a WHOLE LOT better than what I think I am.  My friends are supporters, dream sharers, butt kickers, love bearers, tear catchers, and way makers.  We get by with helping each other.

3.  My kids are the best.  They are not perfect but they are perfect for me.  They give me no trouble.  They are intelligent, great thinkers, independent minded and their own people.  I could not ask for more.

4.  I am in great health.  While my body is not EXACTLY where I want it, it does show evidence of my dedication to the gym.  I am getting close to the magic age and I take no medications for anything.  I have had no medical scares of any kind.  I have the strength to physically and mentally take care of those who need me.

That about sums it up.  You can’t get much better than that.  The money would have been a wonderful asset to my life but it would not have made my life.  My life is perfectly complete as it is.  There are some things that could bear improving but I won’t complain.  I’m alive, I’m healthy, I’m blessed.  I’m a WINNER.

 

Spread love…peace and blessings

In Praise of Womanhood

My sisters

You make me proud

Of all that you are

And all that you can be

You make me want to become

The very best me

You carry the burden

In a lot of instances

Of raising your boys into men

While still allowing them to be children

Of teaching your girls

That life is not all dresses and curls

A lady needs to have her own

And be her best

Stand up for yourself

Face any test

While at the same time

Maintain that is which is soft

The core of your femininity

For a man needs to feel like a man

And THAT you have to understand

So while you are “holding him down”

Make sure you always build him up

My sisters you speak with dulcet tones

In ways that make others feel that they are one of your own

You open your heart and your home

To anyone in need

Your spirit is golden

One never has to plead

You shoulder the load

Of generations of your family

You are the matriarch

The rock upon which they all stand

The men of the family say

She helped me become a better man

The table abounds with foods

Deliciously sprinkled with love

The cornerstone you stand on

Is that we are all blessed from above

My sisters you rule the boardroom

Showing men the true meaning of multi-tasking

While they may lead a somewhat charmed life

You remind your coworkers

“Hey buddy I am the wife”

You are the caretaker, waymaker, executrix,

The bomb lady who finds the way out of any fix

You are my example

My go to girl

You make me proud to realize

That no dream “dreamable” is out of this world

My sisters

This is my ode to you

I want to say thank you

You are appreciated

You are admired

You are loved

For all that you do

For all that you contribute

For all that you stand for

Because we don’t say to one another often enough

Part of why I am here

Is because of you

And I love you.

TB-S        3/5/12

Much love to the sisterhood of women today.  I salute you! Spread love…peace and blessings