How to Achieve Your Goals: #12goals and I AM Statements

I made and shared this video 3 weeks ago but it is something I remind myself of monthly. Another month is coming to an end so it is important that you assess what you have done, what you could have done and what you need to get done. On top of being organized and prepared, write down statements proclaiming who you are. I AM powerful. I AM loving. I AM debt free. These types of statements force things in the universe to move and make provisions for you so that you can be who you are proclaiming to be. Everyday won’t be perfect but you will appreciate your good days and see how much they outweigh your bad days and you will make the most of the good and the bad. Be you. Do you. Tell your story. On your own terms.

Advertisements

If You Want It All, Go For It and Don’t Quit

Society wants to dictate to you what you can have.  They throw statistics around without any context and run anecdotal stories filled with extreme examples of people who are forced to choose or those who quit before they accomplished their goals.  I am a living witness  on how prayer, determination and hard work will guide you through and to your destiny.  When you have to weigh your options, quit now or keep pushing through the pain, you realize that you really don’t have a choice.  If you quit right now you won’t be happy and will end up further behind than you would have been if you kept pushing through.

Before I had my baby, I dreaded going back to school.  I knew that physically I was going to be challenged and I did not have everything in place as I had expected.  I am a control freak and very type A.  I needed a tangible plan with back up plans in place.  That was not happening.  I cried and cried and begged Adam to let me quit but he said the same thing every time, “You have come too far to quit.”  I knew he had my back but the unwavering support I received from my classmates, friends and local family was unforeseen.  Everyone rolled up their sleeves and sacrificed their time at various points over the past two years to help me get through.  My co-worker who had just retired watched baby Adam for the first few weeks for free.  The days she couldn’t watch him, my classmates allowed me to bring him to class or watched him for me on their breaks.  My co-worker was scheduled to watch him for six weeks but as the weeks passed by, I had no idea of who was going to watch my son permanently.

As life would have it, I ran into a classmate walking down the street and she suggested I ask another one of our classmates.  Through her I was able to find an amazing sitter who has taken care of my son since he was 3 months old.  When I leave my son with her, I never have to worry if he is being cared for.   I am always exhausted, always running, always busy and my schedule is hectic but it was all worth it.  My son survived. My marriage survived.  My personal finances are a little tattered but I am great at getting things in order, so I will fix them.  But most importantly I survived and achieved what I set out to get done.  I could not have planned for all of these things to have worked together.  They did because I was where I was supposed to be.

Bottom line.  Never stop dreaming.  Never stop believing. When it gets hard keep pushing through the pain.  Ask for help when you need it.  You are stronger than you even know.  Don’t let expected or unexpected obstacles overshadow your purpose.  Don’t ever quit. God will provide.  The universe knows what you need.  Live in your truth. Be you.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.

We Made It

Giving my grandparents something to be proud of means the world to me.  Life can be filled with so much disappointment but moments as glorious as graduation are celebrated by friends, family and everyone who my grandmother comes in contact with.  When I graduated from undergrad, she told me that she was just so happy to be standing there watching me walk across the stage.  She told me how she believed in me but she couldn’t conceive how it would work out because we didn’t have the tuition every single semester.   Seeing the end result was a pure miracle to her.

As I prepare for this second moment of glory, I thank her for her prayers, encouragement and for believing and conceiving it.  This JD isn’t just for me but for all of us.  WE MADE IT.

Talk About Sex: Be Open, Honest and Transparent

When all of my girlfriends were losing their virginity in middle school and high school, I knew I was not ready.  Besides the ultimate fear of God that my father had put in my heart, I also had already been schooled by my mom on the reality of sex.  My “mom” is really my stepmom and my Dad’s ex-wife but none of that matters.  She is one of my angels.  She saved me from ever having to experiment with sex and drugs and always had an open door policy about everything, which made being a teenager a little bit easier for me.  I come from stats that would lead some to believe that I would never make something of myself because the odds were stacked against me and were constantly being reinforced by new obstacles that seemed insurmountable.  I knew that I was starting off ten steps behind my peers, so I tried to do follow the “rules” just to ensure that I didn’t get off track.

A lot of girls started to bloom around the 5th and 6th grade.  I was still awkward, had just started getting perms and was flat chested.  I felt like I was the ugly duckling in the room all of the time.  I used to always talk to my mom about these things and she would always say the right words to ease my anxiety for the moment.  When she started to see me blooming, she brought up the conversation of sex.  I am not sure where or how it started but I just remember her being very honest, open and transparent.  It was her words that I alway carried around with me when I would hear my high school friends talking about their sexual experiences.  I would always say, “My mom said it wasn’t all that.”  Then they would agree and the subject would move on to other hot high school gossip.

Her words empowered me to not feel as if I was missing out on something.  Religion or fear wasn’t going to help me to be patient and cherish my virginity but her real life “testimony” helped to keep me grounded and focused on the things I needed to do to succeed.  Even when she moved back to Connecticut and I remained in Texas, her words were reinforced by someone who I call my big brother.  He did not know that she had already planted the seed but he pushed outside of his comfort zone and had a similar talk with me about waiting as long as I could, not just because he did not want me to get pregnant but because he did not want me to endure the emotional trauma of being “hit and quit.”  He was honest to me about how guys really were at that age and where their minds were at and would remain for a long time.  His wife would check up with me even after I went off to college and have open and frank conversations about her own experience.

The best thing about all of these conversations was the amount of transparency and the lack of judgment.  I never heard my mother cry as hard as she did when I told her I lost my virginity.  I felt so bad but I promised her that I would tell her when it happened.  After she collected her emotions, our conversation went right back to a level of transparency that I needed after losing something that I had thought I was going to hold on to forever.  She asked me what  I thought.  Then said I told you so.  She continued to talk and the conversation shifted.  She then empowered me with education about being safe and cautious and I never felt guilty or shamed about being honest.

She was one of the first people that I called when I found out I was pregnant.  Her response was very her, “You are grown.  You are able to take care of yourself.  You will be fine.”  Despite her amazing ability to be sensitive and non-judgmental, I did not always have the most sensitive spirit when it came to others sexual choices and lifestyles.  I grew up in a very strict and religious family where you did right or God was going to bring down the hammer.  I went to church faithfully and constantly felt condemned for sins known and unknown.  My lack of perfection did not stop me from passing judgment and being crass about others choices.  You live, you learn and you do better.

Through all of this I have learned so many things.  Sex is an important conversation to have with your son, daughter, siblings or cousins.  The more you share, the less likely they will take their bodies for granted and wait until they are mentally ready to make a decision that is not due to peer pressure or expectations.  I am for waiting until you get married but more importantly I am for educating and empowering our youth with the knowledge they need to be sexually responsible.  More importantly I learned to not be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good or just plain mean.

Be open. Be honest. Be transparent. Live in your truth. Share your truth. Be you. Tell your story. On your own terms.

 

Drop, Hyphenate, Avoid or Don’t Remove At All

Changing your last name. These are the things soon to be newlyweds discuss as they contemplate their final days as separate beings.  For some, it’s an easy decision.  But for people like me who overthink everything and make simple things complicated, this simple decision becomes heart wrenching because it has strong ties to your identity, loss of independence and taking on a last name that now makes you common.  My life was already moving at a thousand miles a minute, the last thing I wanted to do was lose the last bit of me that I had left, but I had already promised Adam that I would.  And the last thing you need in a new marriage is breaking promises and doing the opposite of what you said you would do.

I took it back to high school and started writing my future last name in notebooks and doodling around it to get myself used to it.  I then brought the discussion back up with my husband and asked if it was that important to him.  A decision he felt so strongly about a few months ago was now not his priority but it was still remained important to him.  He understood that we had just went from hanging out all night with our friends to now having to be the most responsible humans on earth.  He assured me that whatever I decided would be fine, but the last few words dropped off, which meant that is not how he really felt.  So I printed the paperwork and held on to it for a while.  I started to see other people quickly change their last name as soon as they got married and I began to feel guilty.  But that did not make me move any faster.

I made excuse after excuse and finally decided to go down to the Social Security office and get it done.  I get there really early and a line is already formed.  I take a number and have a seat and start to observe my surroundings.  It is the typical DC government scenery, lots of people moving in the background, no ones name being called.  I waited for over an hour and they had only called two numbers.  I clearly wasn’t ready and I sure wasn’t that dedicated to getting it done at that moment, so I left.  I let a few more weeks pass by and I realized that I could mail my paperwork in and they would return my important documents within two weeks.  This seemed like the best route at the time, so I mailed off all of my documents to the field office.  As usual, the DC government did not return my important documents in two weeks or even a month, try almost 3 months.  After numerous phone calls to everyone in every office, I randomly get my paperwork back and then a few weeks later I get my NEW social security card.

In order to make the transition less painful, I made my middle name my maiden name and got rid of that rachetta sounding middle name that my Dad “created.”  And it felt great.  Mostly because I did not have to wait in an office, but even more because I fulfilled my first promise to my husband and did what made him happy.  Sadly, I still have not changed my last name everywhere but the most important places know me as Mrs. Williams.  I am still awkward and weird so when someone calls me Mrs. Williams I am confused for a minute moment but I quickly respond and smile like nothing ever happened.

The point of this story is to do things in your own time.  Do what makes you happy and comfortable.  Do what is best for you and your significant other.  Live in your truth.  Be you. Tell your story. On your own terms.

Quietly Married

 

 

 

 

Image

 

My husband and I have been married for over a year and a half and been together for over three and a half years.  I try to calculate how long we have been together over and over because it seems like so much longer.  I think that we both knew immediately that this was going to be forever.  Our “how we met” stories vary but our immediate attraction and chemistry has always been undisputed.  When we found out that we were expecting, it was a bit of a shock and took some time to adjust to but we both stepped up to the plate and decided to be the best parents we could be for our son.  We had always talked about being married and I expressed that I wanted to be married before our son was born, but I did not know if that was really going to happen.  Adam, being the man that he is, heard me and decided that we should be more than just boyfriend/girlfriend sooner than later.

He planned out a beautiful engagement which I of course shared with everyone via social media and we personally discussed our plans to marry.  Once we started to discuss getting married before the baby with our friends and family, we began to get a push back that we did not expect.  Our family and friends were rightfully concerned with our timeline and voiced their opinions to us.  When we discussed the push back and concerns with each other, we decided that we knew what was best for our family, so we decided to move forward with our plans quietly.

I was working for a judge that summer and shyly asked if she could marry us.  She responded enthusiastically and we planned for a late summer union.  We did not pick a date or publicize our wedding but our close friends were aware and a few decided that they had to be present.  I wanted to keep it as simple and quiet as possible.  I could not take much more excitement on top of being 8 months pregnant in the summer, new homeowners and now a newlywed.  After the ceremony, we had a small reception with the law clerks, my judge, her assistant and my friends.  Adam and I ventured to a far off land to indulge in breakfast at Cracker Barrel and continue with our regularly scheduled lives.

A friend that was present asked if I wanted to share the photos and I decided that I wanted to keep it quiet for a little while.  I did not want the negative commentary from anyone or have to explain why we decided to make that leap into foreverdom at that moment.  I was scarred from sharing my pregnancy news with some and receiving unsolicited advice that was contrary to a decision that I had already made.  I could not take the emotional stress of people’s judgment so I decided to keep it under wraps.  Some of the apprehension was the shock of being married but a lot of it was enjoying the peace of only a few people knowing.  When I started to refer to Adam as my husband, people began to ask questions.  I was always honest but I never addressed the issue across the board.  One day I decided to change my Facebook marital status (sounds silly saying it out loud).  A lot of people were shocked but most were congratulatory and seemingly genuine.  Despite sharing the news, I still never shared a picture.  So today, as I decided to be vulnerable and share my entire truth through my new blog, I decided today was a perfect time.

I am so happy with our decision.  It was the best decision we could have made and although that first year was rough, we are growing individually, as parents and as husband and wife.  This entire post is really a message to myself to live in my truth always and not retreat because of the fear of others opinions.  Be blessed. Be You. Tell your story.

Wisdom for Newlyweds/New Parents

Always pray together and things will be smoother.  Now is the test of your love and friendship will be strengthened because its no more me or I but we or us.  Be each others best friend and talk to each other not at each other.  Prayer works before any conference.  Be encouraged and love each other.

Advice to My Little Cousins

“What do you want to be when you grow up” is a common question posed to younger children and young adults.  Instead of simply guiding our children toward careers we have have a duty to guide them towards their purpose just as aggressively.  We should be asking our children, “What is the job or activity or hobby that you could do happily everyday for the rest of your life?”  That is essentially their purpose.  The difficulty comes in the means.  How do I make my purpose profit?  Some are able to follow a “traditional” path; get a degree and work your way up the ladder.  Others may have to save up or find investors and then take that leap of faith.  Many people find their purpose in the field they are working in.  The road to finding your purpose is full of twists and turns but once you find your purpose, you have to nurture it.  Educate yourself, read various articles or other blogs on the topic, do a market analysis, find a mentor, reach out to others who are doing what you want to do.  There is so much more to life than those who you see on the main screen.  The production team is the one with the most power.  In every industry we assume the money is with the face of the project but in reality it is in the background, leading up to the grand finale.  Choose your position and play it well.  Perfect your craft, be professional at all times, be strategic, stay humble, don’t be afraid to work hard to get to the next level.  It is important to have a career but it is equally, if not more important to find your purpose.  You owe it to those who came before you and those coming behind you, watching your every move.

Finding Your Purpose

In this age of technology we have become so connected to others that we are disconnected with ourselves.  We know what everyone else is doing and wearing, what the hottest trends are, the newest fads, yet we don’t know what steps to take to be a player in the game of life instead of a spectator on the sidelines.  So we hear some great advice and go and try it, then hear some more advice and go and try that, get disengaged with it all, take a poll, an online quiz, a Buzzfeed aptitude test, yet this doesn’t get us any further than we already were.  We search for this deep revelation, life changing “aha” moment and lose out on the time that could have been used on doing what matters most.  There is no blog, YouTube video, Buzzfeed quiz that will tell you what is right for you.  In the complexity of technology, we feel that the simple answer is the wrong answer.  The thing that makes us the happiest is clearly not going to make us rich.  But that pure, effortless and authentic joy that comes when you are doing what you love is why you are here.  The activity that makes your light shine the brightest, that inspires others and makes you feel excited to be around you.  Self-help books are not psychics but words that help you process your thoughts and emotions and elevate your thinking to another level.  They are discussing ways to get to your dreams.  Fasting, meditation and bucket lists are examples of ways to get right back to where you already knew you wanted to be.