The Fork in the Road

Many times we say that we want to change, but our actions continue to contradict our words.  We ask for wisdom, guidance, and second chances, but with all of those things we still go against what we know may be best for us.  After getting tired of being in the same place every year, I decided that I had to do something different.  I began to work on my character flaws one by one.  I received life lessons through mentors, counseling, and by reading books.

All of these things helped me to see how I could be better.  After dealing with the issue for a period of time, I would suddenly notice that the flaw that I was trying to overcome was suddenly in front of me in the form of a test.  I had a choice to make that I am sure came up many times before, but I missed it because I was blind to the mess I was in.  I noticed the test this time, and picked the right way and I immediately felt relief.  This is how I dealt with my anger, past pain, bad relationships, poor choices, and a host of other things that I dealt with and continue to deal with daily.

I truly want to be a better person tomorrow than I am today.  Although I have come a long way from the 20 year old college student that would pop off and show out, I still have much further to go.  I realize that many times we get entrenched in the “woe is me” mindset instead of being introspective. Look at yourself and see why things continue to go the way they are going. If you continue to go down the wrong side of the road once you reach that fork, you will never get out that destructive cycle.

It is very easy to see others mistakes and poor choices, but it is so hard to see our own. The time spent on the lives of others will be better spent on yourself. If you are stuck in a cycle of life that you cannot get out of, decide that you are ready to break free, pray and meditate, and look out for that fork in the road moment. The test will come, but you have to be prepared.

Break free. Be excellent. Change your life. Change your mind. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.

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Successful People Dream and Never Stop Dreaming

Before I moved, my husband and I spent the last few days prior to my departure looking at beautiful homes all over Houston.  Many of them were over $400,000, but they had everything that we ever wanted in a home.  My husband started to name the things that he wanted in a house and I just listened and smiled.  He would text me random listings or toys that he wanted when we finally moved into this futuristic new house.  Although I was equally excited about the move, I was apprehensive about drooling over new homes that we may not be able to afford.  These past few months had turn me into a practicalist and very rigid.  I had stopped dreaming and because I was not dreaming, I did not want him to dream either.

After a few days of this excited exchanges, I stopped him and said, “We aren’t going to be able to afford this anytime soon.”  The look on his face and sadness in my voice made me wish that I had never said those words.  I realized in that moment that I had stopped dreaming of the impossible and began existing only in my current reality.  That was why I was so depressed and stressed out.  I allowed my life to be driven by the right now instead of the what if.  I decided from that day forward that I would dream again and my entire atmosphere shifted.

Success is not living in today but working towards tomorrow. Dreaming keeps you from being so hard, callous, and stagnant.  From my own experience dreams do come true.  I am much happier now that I am dreaming again.  Our list of DREAMS are already turning into a reality.

Keep dreaming.  Dream about the impossible.  Write it down and watch you check it off your list.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Learning How to Love

I thought I knew what love was.  I do not even know what I thought, but I thought I knew something at every point of my life when I proclaimed to love someone.  As the years go by and I evolve each day, I realize that I know nothing about love and I have so much yet to learn.  Learning what love is and how to love is key to maintaining long-lasting relationships that surpass distance and time.

I have friends that I have known for years who are all very different, yet our relationships have withstood distance and time because we love each other.  Many of them were my first friends in college and we never let go of each others hands as we walked along our separate journeys.  Because we have been friends for so long, we eventually learned AND accepted how each person wanted or needed to be loved.

Some people need to be told that they are loved often, some people need that intimate connection, while others know the genuineness of your bond, and the only thing that matters is that you are present when needed.  Although we enter into intimate relationships with this knowledge, we make the road difficult by expecting love to be present and automatic.  Love is not a feeling, but the bond that is built between two people.

Looking back on my long-term friendships, I see that we did not love each other in the beginning like we love each other now.  We learned how each person wanted to be loved and learned to respect that persons love language over time.  As a wife I am learning that how I loved my husband year 1 may not be how my husband needs to be loved in year 4.  The most important thing is to allow your love to be fluid and encompass your partners current needs, instead of simply loving the same way because that is all you know.

Change is uncomfortable, but it is necessary for growth.  I am learning so much and accepting that I have so much to learn.  I won’t be the same person tomorrow as I was yesterday, because I am progressing in every area of my life, including learning how to love.

Love is our superpower.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Inspire Through Your Actions

There is a difference between those who are teaching the people as a leader and those who are teaching people to lead.  There are many people who can tell you from the pulpit that you can be successful, but few are willing to teach you how to be successful.  People are using their words to inspire instead of their actions.  Your words should be used engage and encourage, but your actions should inspire.

There is so much work to do and a shallow analysis of the current state of America will not change our tomorrow.  I am trying to balance my engagement and my action.  It is easy to sit behind a computer and say words that sound good, but it takes so much more effort to do the work that supports those words.  I am challenging myself to do less talking and more action.  I am working with grassroots organizations and personal initiatives to change the world, but I can do more. We all can do more.

I cannot tell you what your more is, because it is personal.  You have to tap into your passion and work hard at creating that change.  Life is going to be what we make of it.  We cannot leave it up to the next generation to make things better.  We have the power and we can change the world today.

Less talk.  More action.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

I AM Where I AM Supposed to BE

It is easy to say that you are in the right place at the right time when you are in a positive position.  We can easily declare that we fought our way to be right here or sacrificed enough to achieve a certain status when things feel great, but what about the times when we find ourselves in a valley.  Many of us pat ourselves on the back for our successes and beat ourselves up for our failures.  We should not do either.  Our success is not always triggered simply by the things we have done recently, but usually manifestations of seeds we planted long ago.  Our failures are not always a result of recent missteps, but a bump along this road called life.

We can easily look at ourselves and say we deserve to be where we are, except if we are in a bad place.  Although we may not deserve it, many of us need to go through that valley to be prepared for the next level. The glory of our greatness is balanced by the reality of our limitations.  We can only be great as the weaknesses we recognize and work through.  It is easy to highlight our strengths, but it takes courage to expose our weaknesses and transform them into foundational characteristics that lead to a better us.  We excel naturally through our strengths, but we build character by  converting our weaknesses into lessons of power.

Accept that you are in the right place at all stages of life.  Learn all of the lessons the first time around so that you are always moving forward, even when you are going through growing pains.  I am where I am supposed to be right now and I was where I was supposed to be weeks ago when I was in a dark place.  I had to go through that tunnel to get to the light.  The tunnel taught me how to focus, how to fight, how to listen, and how to learn even when it feels like I am stuck.  I never want to go back there, but my next tunnel will be full of new lessons and help me to be better than I was before I entered it!

I am enjoying the light and preparing my mind for my next valley or tunnel.  I want to grow and reach greater heights and I know this will take me through many valleys, over many mountains, and through many tunnels.  Basking in the glory of His goodness and accepting that the days behind me helped me be where I am today.  I am blessed.  I am grateful.  I am where I am supposed to be.

Your steps are ordered.  Live Excellently.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Trying to Focus

When you are not settled and going through so many changes, it is hard to focus and blog.  I have started so many blog posts and had so many ideas, but I can’t find my flow or the rights words to finish them.  My best blogs have popped up in my head and flew off of my fingers, so I am slow to post ones that take a lot of energy to complete.  I am in a transitory period and I am not in touch with my balanced and centered self.  My heart is South Carolina with grandma and my soul is in Maryland holding down the fort.  The most important pieces of me are not close and that leaves me feeling very imbalanced.

This adjustment period was necessary and would have been so much harder with my son.  I needed the time and energy to make good decisions and to find a rhythm.  My son won’t be coming into chaos but a mom who is settled in at work, settled into a new apartment, and has set up his new educational experience at a center close to our house.  I hate that I cannot see my little boy and I miss him terribly, but these past few months have shown me how much he needs consistency.

I want to blog when my heart is totally in it and I can relay the message that I know is needed.  I do not have a quota to fill so I am going to focus on quality and not quantity.  When something hits me and I can put out a few hundred words I will, but bear with me until I get the pieces of me back together! I am learning so much about myself and my purpose and I cannot wait to share the lessons that have been revealed to me over this rough summer, after making a huge move, and after seeing my failing bar results.  I have grown more in the past month than I have in the past year! 2014 has been rough but I will not let any of it be in vain.

Do not force your greatness.  Do not pre-release your wisdom.  Let your lessons be a natural light.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

It is No Longer Just the Cost of Living but the Quality of Life

I am getting older and I am longing for a change of pace.  Although I live in the “suburbs” of DC, I still feel the pressure of the rat race every single day and it is exhausting.  I am longing for a simpler life that we can afford.  I want to expose my son to everything the world has to offer, including being apart of a tight knit community where people know your name.

We have been discussing moving to Houston even before we had our son and now it comes up in conversation more and more.  Houston is a great place if you have never been but what I love most is how every neighborhood has everything you need.  You drive outside of your suburban community and you arrive at the shopping center that houses your needs in a 4 block radius; Target, Krogers, Marshalls, Nail salon, Chuckie Cheese and great food! Although these seems like nothing, it helps to center the activities of that community into one central location.  You go to the same grocery store every week and you begin to connect with those who work and shop there.

I love DC and all it has given me over the past 11 years but something here is missing.  I know that every where we go there will be traffic, weather to complain about or disconnected aspects of a community but DC does not give me a feeling of being home.  The growth of the city is focused more on the young, hip and rich and less on working class families.  At one time I felt like I did not belong any place else, suddenly I feel completely out of place.

Some of it has to do with having a kid.  Strollers don’t fit into these cute shops and restaurants and people aren’t interested in hearing your baby have a temporary melt down in their cool, chic eatery.  Some of it has to do with having student loans.  I owe a mortgage in student loans and the pay off date doesn’t exist in this decade or the next or anyone close to that.  Some of it has to do with coming full circle.  Although I was born in Connecticut, my formative years were in Houston and I still have so many friends there.  I felt home when I was there and when I go, it always brings a breath of fresh air.

At this point in my life I am no longer focused just on the cost of living but on our quality of life.  Even if Houston is not our next stop on our journey, I know that our current location is coming to an end sooner than later.  I have accomplished more in these 11 years than I could have ever dreamed but there is so much more in the world and I think I could get a better view from a different place.

The book of life is full of chapters and subchapters.  This chapter of my life in DC has been long and filled with so many amazing memories.  I sense that it will be closing soon with all of its many subchapters finally coming to a complete end.

A new beginning is on the horizon and I am ready.  I don’t know when.  Maybe not today or tomorrow but soon.  Be you.  Do you. Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Maybe I Am Doing This Thing All Wrong

Today I was mentally exhausted and decided to take a midday rest, despite being exactly 1 week away from my BIG EXAM.  But in these quiet moments I started to think, “Maybe I am doing this thing all wrong.”  I am attempting to fight so many wrongs on so many different fronts, and I am not being as productive as I can be.  I want to change what is already in motion.  I want to change things that are outside of my control.  I want to change people, and we all know that changing people by just your words is impossible.  So, I started to think of how I can work smarter and not harder.  How can I fight the injustices of the world that are being waged against every single woman, man, or child? How can I fight the injustices that are based on race, gender or sexuality? How can I make this world better for those here and those to come?

I don’t have the answer to any of these questions right now, but I decided to stop using my energy to fight those who are stuck in their beliefs and instead use all of my energy to shine a light in this world that may not change them, but will help develop others.  Every chance I get, I am going to be the best me, give 1000% and make sure that I am leaving every place better than it was when I came.  I can’t divide my attention between those who choose to hate and those who need love. I have to solely focus on those who need love, so that they can be edified and grow into beautiful beams of light.

We don’t need fewer people that hate, but more people who love.  We don’t need fewer people that aren’t racist, we need more people who can appreciate people for their differences.  We don’t need fewer people who are more tolerant, we just need more people who will encourage people to be themselves.  If we outnumber those who hate, who are racist or who are intolerant, soon those on the other side will simply conform to the notions of the majority.  We cannot feed into the vicious cycle of trying to recruit the enemy, but instead we have to gather our allies and show them our strength and power.  I have been doing this thing wrong for a long time, but today I have decided to take the steps to do it the only way that makes sense to me.

Legends are known for doing something extremely well.  How do you want to be remembered? What do you do well? Note it.  Know it. Do it.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own stories. On your own terms.

Written Words: Worries from 2009

This flood has given me the opportunity to go through some old journals, letters, cards and notes I have written to myself or received from others.  The timing is amazing because graduation always brings on a spirit of reminiscing.  Despite some of the damage that the flood has done, it has also brought a level of healing and elevation that was unexpected.  One of the boxes that was unsalvageable contained my 2008 graduation gifts from my family.  One of the items was a personalized keepsake box that I put a few pictures in, a $1.00 bill, my cords, and a note that contained all of my worries.  I listed out my worries which included making my student loan payments, my family and my future.  But at the end of that letter, this is what I wrote:

” My prayer: God I pray that you take all of my worries and work them out for my good.  May your will be done in my life.  Help me to be all that you want me to be, walking in my purpose and destiny.  Thank you in advance. Amen.”

Everything that I worried about in 2009, God WORKED IT OUT.  I always orally expressed that I never wanted to get married but in my writings to myself it consistently appears.  Five years ago no one could have paid me to believe that I would be where I am today, still with worries but not the ones I had 5 years ago.  But I took my worries and gave them to God and He worked every single one of them out.

I hope this post inspires someone to take all of their burdens off of themselves and release it through writing or verbalizing and then look back a few days, months or years from now and see how it has been worked out FOR YOUR GOOD.  Be blessed.  Be you.  Do you.  Live in your truth.  Tell your story.  On your own terms.