The Vision 

I have had all of the materials I needed to complete my vision board since early January.  I was so enthusiastic about getting it done in the first few weeks, and had all intentions of showing mine off alongside all of the excellent examples on my timeline but I got sidetracked.  I cannot tell you exactly what I got sidetracked with because the list could go on forever.  It is now March 22 and I have finally completed my goal!

I read a few articles on Vision Boards, but I mostly just went with my heart and cut out things that meant something to me.  The areas I decided to cover are ones that are important to me.  Last year was the beginning of a transition to being fearless and intentional.  I stopped wishing and started doing.  I left all of the wishing behind and decided to take the necessary steps needed to achieve my goals.

This year has brought me to another level in my spirituality and faith.  I believe that I am where I am supposed to be, and I am going to do everything I said I was going to do.  So my vision board encompasses not just things I want, but people who I aspire to be like, things I want to give to others, and my true desire to travel more.

PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME 

This section covers 4 women who are doing exceptional things in the world and I am so inspired by their message and their truth.  I look forward to sitting across from Ellen, telling her how I started #BlackExcellenceSaturdays and how I am using social media as a tool to change the lives of many.

ESSENCE FESTIVAL 2015

I have been trying to get to Essence for years.  It is a very tough weekend to get out of town sometimes, so my plans have fallen through time and time again.  This year I am going to make a strong effort to get there.  I honestly want to be involved in the efforts to spread the word about healthcare prevention and the resources available across the nation. I have already put forth some efforts to make this happen!

MATERIAL WANTS

I am trying not to be focused on material wants, but there are a few things that I am going to enjoy when I obtain them. My husband gave me his car when I moved to Houston and has been driving my big Buick.  He is selling it since he will be traveling for the next year, but when he settles back home I am going to buy him his dream car, an Audi A8 (A4 in the picture, but you get the point).  I also will eventually need an upgrade, so I threw a new Lexus on there for myself.

As I expand my network, opportunities are presenting themselves that require a decent camera.  I have a lot to learn about the world of film, production, and editing, but the right tools are necessary to start the process.  My husband bought me the fragrance Flower Bomb a few years back and it is the best thing I have ever smelled. A new bottle would be greatly appreciated. (wink wink)

My husband and I did not have a wedding or a honeymoon.  We have never really had the money around our anniversaries to do anything special, but this year I want to change that.  We will make 3 years this July and we are planning something meaningful for ourselves, stay tuned.

STYLE

I have not focused much of my time or money on fashion, but I need to focus more on being a tad big stylish when I am out on the scene.  This is a work in progress and will be ongoing, because I struggle with spending money on clothes.  I have always been very practical and only purchased items that were very basic and plain.  It is time to live! Live in COLOR!

OUR NEXT HOME

After being in Houston for the past few months, I realized that I want to live in the city.  The ‘burbs are nice, but the things I enjoy the most are in the city of Houston.  Plus, the specialty schools are amazing in the city and I do believe my child will benefit from these experiences.

TRAVEL

Everyone says that they want to travel, but I am no longer wishing.  I want to be financially prepared for the next glitch fare.  We are actively making efforts to plan trips that will create memories.  My husband will be seeing the nation through his new position, but we plan to see more of the world together.  Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Australia, Italy, and Germany are all on the lists of places to go.  Just waiting for the door to open and we will be flying through.

HEALTH/WELLNESS

I want clear skin.  Who doesn’t?

I am so unhappy with my current weight and I am struggling to find balance between work and caring for my son to get to the gym.  There are no excuses, but I am actively seeking out the time to get to the gym I want to join and to practice Bikram.  My biggest issue is childcare.  My family and friends don’t live close to either the gym or my house.  I will not stop trying to figure it out, until I have figured it out.

GIFTS/CELEBRATION

I want to use my gifts to help others and I want to be able to give wonderful gifts to those in need and whom I love.

My friends are doing big things here and across the world.  I hope to be able to celebrate with them soon.

This has been an amazing and eye opening experience.  I look forward to sharing my accomplishments that come from this post.  I love my life and cannot wait to do this again, with a new vision in place.

Until then. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.

Here lies my first vision board: 

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My Life Your Entertainment

Who I was when I began this blog is not who I am today.  Over the past year I have transformed into someone I never knew existed or would have believed existed.  The transformation that has taken over my life is indescribable.  I thank God daily for my struggles and my triumphs, because all of it has created this cosmic energy of compassion and love. I do not do any of this for others, but for a greater purpose that I am only beginning to understand.

I have been through some very high highs and some very low lows.  I have been blessed to be able to process and absorb so many lessons, because I am not ashamed of my circumstances or hiding behind who people think I am or who they want me to be.  I convey my shortcomings and downfalls with very little to buffer the reality. I am a constant work in progress and I hope that people are bold enough to love me for me and foster my growth through this process.  I love me so much that no external dislike towards me or my journey can fill any space in my life.  There is no room for negativity.

I am not where I want to be, but I have a vision.  I move with a purpose, for a purpose, and on purpose.  I have spent this Lenten season focused on my energy and understanding the process of attracting what I want and need in life.  I am careful about who I allow in my presence, because it is important to maintain a certain level of energy in the work I do daily.  Keep watching because I will not stop until I have completed my assignments.

Be Excellent.Be you. Do you. Tell you own story. On your own terms.

Shifted Energy

I started off 2015 with a very sound routine.  I would wake up early, use my prayer beads to meditate and pray, listen to NPR or a podcast and absorb some new information.  Then I would do a quick social media scan and start my day.  When I started my mornings this way, my life and day seemed to go a lot better.  I was balanced and focused on the task ahead.  I found a morning ritual that would work for me and I loved it.

When I started this routine, I did not have my son here at the time.  It was very easy to do when I was alone, but once I brought him home I slept less, woke up later, and could never find a rhythm.  I did not try hard enough to get back focused and disciplined, so my ritual fell to the wayside.  I allowed myself to be swept away from the very thing I knew that I needed, a morning ritual. Discipline.  Structure.  Consistency.   As I started to get off kilter, things at work began to also veer far from where I wanted it to be and I could barely handle it.  My patient care never suffered, but my professional interpersonal relationships did.

I usually voice my opinion face to face and allow the other person an opportunity to reconcile at that moment, but this particular time I decided to send an email in the heat of my fury and waged war on a few people.  This very direct discussion spread quickly to those who were not directly involved, and a phone call was made to me that solidified my desires to part ways with this company.  Although I made the decision to find employment elsewhere, I did not let go of how that person made me feel.  I carried that weight around with me, and that on top of recurring issues in the workplace shifted my energy negatively.

I have not been centered since receiving that phone call.  The unbalanced way in which I operated meant that I was easily thrown off even when I thought I was prepared for battle.  Small issues became major issues because my vision was skewed towards this negative energy that I allowed into my life.  I never released that moment to then reflect, grow, or correct the other party involved.  I received the negativity and held on to it for too long.

I was so focused on that moment that I could not see the bigger picture.  I had to be forced by God to take a step back and understand that our ways are not His ways and our thoughts are not His thoughts.  Although I thought I was going to be in a place for a longer season, He has a plan that is greater than the eye can see.  I am able to be so open and reflective, because God is not allowing me to wallow in my mess but forcing me to go through it and step out of it without any traces of residue or damage to who I am and where I am going.

This was simply a pit stop to a higher place, but I almost missed out on my blessing because my energy was jacked up.  I was walking along the balance beam and faltering, but I never got off.  When life has hit me time and again, I have stumbled, fallen, and been hurt in the process, but I never got off.  The road to success is not wide, it is not straight, and it is not easy.  You have to believe that everything will work together for your good.

I know that everything is working together because in a matter of days I have been blessed beyond anything I could have ever asked for or imagined.  You have to walk along your own path, centered and balanced as you move towards your goal.  Your energy is what attracts your blessing.  Never allow a moment or man to shift your energy so far that you are off balanced and distracted from your path ahead.

Stay focused. Be grateful.  Positive energy.  Balanced.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Jealousy and Envy

Daddy issues. Mommy issues. Color issues. Self-Image issues. Body image issues.  Inferiority complexes.  All of these things spew out of our hearts with disdain for others, when in reality we are jealous and envious of what they may have.  I used to see people with their parents and hate the way they took them for granted.  I would think, “If that was my mom, I would…” or “If that was my dad, I would…”  I hated myself for not having those relationships, and I disliked others who did not understand how great they had it.  There are many people who have Daddy Issues, a lot of people who have Mommy Issues, and then the smaller group of us who have both.  The concept of being parentless is so painful and exclusionary at times.  You feel that you do not have an anchor or a home base, because you are not connected to at least one of the people who brought you into this world.

I pitied myself and self-loathed for being a sort of orphan and wore my wounds externally.  I constantly poured salt into my own wounds and made sure that my pain was visible.  I carried myself as a victim of circumstance and clung to the concept of being different for all of the wrong reasons.  All of this boiled down to being jealous and envious of people for reasons they could not control.

Rehashing this sounds so silly, but as a child that longed for connection, it was my reality.  Although I did not battle long with my color issues because I went to a HBCU where I was surrounded by multicultural and multicolored beauty, I did look in the mirror and tear myself apart.  I longed for a sense of perfection that made me say, “You are not pretty enough,” “You are not tall enough,” “You are not short enough,” “You are not skinny enough,” “You are not thick enough,” “Your hair is too short,” “Your face is too round,” and it played out in times of failure as if any of those things were connected to my outcomes.  I look back now and long for my college physique, but at that time I felt that certain aspects of me kept me from achieving my goals.

I am not sure where my epiphany came, but I remember getting into a friend’s car my Sophomore year and she said that I looked different, prettier, happier even.  My inner self had changed and I had accepted me for who I was and that allowed my inner beauty to enhance my outer beauty.  Prior to this moment, I had failed to realize that my self-doubt and criticism of irrelevant things were the only thing keeping me from achieving my goals.  I had nothing to lose, but my personal, self-imposed chains.  The freedom that came with acceptance allowed me to change my energy and attract light with light.  I no longer yearned for what I did not have, but I highlighted my strengths and let them overshadow my weaknesses.

Life is a learning process and it takes time to become the best us.  There is always a better version of us waiting to be tapped into.  The depth and complexity of who I longed to be was tied to many things, but released by the power of love.  I had to love myself enough to know that I was more than enough today, and will be more than enough tomorrow.  I appreciate my experiences more, because I am able to connect with those who may be going through a similar situation.  I can now give hope to those who may feel that the lack of something is a stumbling block, when in reality it can be used as a stepping stone.

Jealousy and envy is more than just wanting someones lifestyle or material items, it can go deeper than that.  The desire to have what someone else has or had will not bring those things to you, but accepting your circumstance will allow those voids to be filled with the things that you need.

You will not get what you want, but you will get what you give.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Balancing Being Selfish and Selfless

I spent my entire summer absorbed in my own mess and conflicted dilemmas.  I stopped working on all of my projects to focus on studying for the Maryland Bar and barely took a moment to even think about anyone else and their feelings.  I shut myself off from the rest of the world, because the only important thing to me at that moment was passing the Bar exam.  Looking back on that time, I cannot decide if that was a right or wrong decision.  I thought I was making the right decision at that time, but in hindsight I became someone who I never wanted to be; completely self-absorbed in myself.

From the end of May to the last week in July, I only had enough space in my head to think about myself.  Honestly for the past 11 years, some of my family members feel as if I have only thought about myself.  I went off to college and rarely came home.  I spent more holidays and summers with friends instead of planning activities with my family.  Coming home was always a chore and being there wasn’t always an enjoyable experience, so I kept it short and sweet.  Although I did not think I was being selfish, some feel that way and today I can start to see why.

Being selfish is always looked at as a negative thing.  It is viewed as a character flaw instead of a strength.  After having a 2 hour-long conversation with one of my favorite cousins, she said to me, “I finally understand why you left here and never looked back.  You have to be selfish sometimes to get where you want to be in life.”  She gets it.  Although she is my favorite cousin, we have not had the best relationship over the past few years.  We always seemed to be on the same side of things until recently.  Suddenly I was enemy number one and she became the voice that was going to bring me back to reality.  She learned that I don’t allow those type of relationships to burden me and I silence voices that aren’t here to help or encourage.

During our last conversation she finally began to understand that being selfish is not a character flaw, but a calculated decision to be focused enough to get to the next level instead of being stagnated by the opinions of others.  There are times in your life where being selfish is a form of survival.  Many people give until they are empty and have nothing left for themselves.  Being self-less can be a greater character flaw than being selfish.  Your emptiness can be more detrimental than being fully focused on your goals and dreams.

I can finally admit that I am selfish.  I can finally admit that I can be self-less at times, but I am mostly selfish.  I am learning to accept that as an asset and not a flaw.  I am doing what I think is best to be balanced, but you cannot always stop and explain to people why you do what you do, but most importantly you just have to know that what you are doing is in your best interest.

Right now I am in a self-less mode.  I am trying to change the world.  Literally.  I am still working on my own personal ventures, but most of my energy is going to initiatives that are greater than just me and mines.

Being balanced is hard.  It is truly a constant process.  I am a work in progress.  Pray for me on this journey. 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.

Set Your Own Expectations

If we became only what other people thought we would become, many of us would have never achieved half of our accomplishments.  Somewhere through the negative noise and circumstances, I told myself that I was going to make something out of nothing.  Some of this came from positive television shows that depicted the awesomeness of college and success, along with great movies that showed the underdog coming out triumphant every time.  Looking back now, that was a window out of my dark world and into an opportunity that helped create my ambitious spirit.  We become what we see around us.  I was influenced by more than just the images I saw on TV, but by amazing people who used their gifts to love and lead me.

An aunt that I grew up around always expected excellence from me.  My aunt spoke to me in a way that helped me to see the greatness in myself.  I always felt like she was my personal guardian angel, but she used her gifts to support and encourage her friends, family, and students .  Being around her always made me strive for more, despite anything that I was going through at the time.  The seeds of success had been planted by family and teachers throughout my life, but while I was in high school my aunt tilled and cultivated my intellectual, emotional, and social garden.  She did not allow me to make excuses or pity myself.  She helped me to see the lessons in my negatives and taught me how to use them as positives in my future.  She allowed me to speak freely, but did not allow me to retain that bitterness and anger that permeated my soul at times.

These important moments in my life taught me that no matter what others said I would or would not be, what others assumed I could or could not achieve, or whatever things I did not have were not determinative of my success.  When I went off to college, I did not have anyone pushing me to be the best.  The first semester I coasted through and ended up with mediocre grades.  I had to refocus myself, decide if college was where I wanted to be, and step up to the plate to prove to MYSELF that I belonged at Howard.  There were so many times when I wanted to give up, but I had to remind myself that I was built to win and the end result would be worth the sacrifice.

Many times we allow others to set expectations for us.  We live up to the standards that are set by those around us.  If the expectations are high and we do not achieve it or if the expectations are low and we exceed them, our success or failures could become a stumbling block to getting to our true purpose.  If you want the most out of life, YOU have to expect more out of yourself and follow your heart, not just simply achieving what others want for you.  People may see you working hard and admire you, but you know if you need to put in more work to get to the next level.  Outsiders may exalt you for what you have done, but you have to remain focused on where it is that you want to end up.  People may laugh at your failures and remind you of where you said you would be, but only bitter people measure your failures against their standard of success. Remain driven, passionate, and ambitious to not lose sight of your dreams.

Expect greatness from yourself.  Walk in excellence.  Speak positively.  Teach willingly.  Live in humility.  Give your all to everything that matters to you most.

Set your own expectations.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Top 5 Things I Will Miss About DC/East Coast

5. Jumbo Slice/Duccinis/Pizza
I clearly love pizza so much that I post about it often. I know that nothing will compare to the pizza I love in DC and no one here will have halal beef pepperoni, so I will be forced to eat chicken pizza again. Nothing like a late night and hot, cheesy pizza to make you feel complete.  But there are great food options here and I am praying my soul is strong enough to stay away from all of the bad things I don’t need.

4. Riding by Howard
Howard was my home for 8 out of the last 11 years. I learned so much and received some of the greatest additions to my life there.  Educational institutions bring optimism, hope, and great memories.  I love Howard and am blessed to say that I was a Bison.

3. Being in 3 different States in a Matter of Minutes
I lived in MD but could be in VA or DC in a matter of minutes, to NY in 4 hours, Philly in 3, and SC or CT in 7/8.  The ability to change your surroundings quickly is a major plus of the east coast. It allows you to be very spontaneous and enjoy experiences on a budget when you need to.  No more megabus, quick turn around trips, or weekend trips up the road. Keep your money stacked cause we are flying in and out of here.

2. Our First Home
My husband said yesterday, “You are leaving the first home I bought you.”  That made me feel really special because he did buy that house for my son and I.  He wanted to make sure we had a safe place to stay and an asset for future use.  We had amazing neighbors and slowly made improvements that will benefit it’s future use as a rental property. Moving back into an apartment will be interesting but it’s all apart of the process.

1.  My Friends and Family
Being so far from my friends and family is going to be rough. Although we have all become so busy and immersed in our own lives, we still could get together and laugh when we wanted or needed to.  Thank God for technology and being able to eventually plan more family trips to fill that gap. I don’t easily disconnect from people and will always cherish and touch base with my team. 

DC has been an experience.  So much great sprinkled with some bad and ugly. I came, I conquered, I survived, I thrived, and I came home with everything I set off to accomplish 11 years ago in tow.

I am so full and so grateful to everyone who has made my life experience that much more special by just being who they are. By loving me, encouraging me, and building me up when I fell down.

The best is yet to come. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.

Listen to The Silence, It is Telling You Something

I rarely watch TV because I cannot take the noise.  Between my son, the dog, the iPad and everything else that is going on in my house and in my head, I am very sensitive to unnecessary noise.  Despite desiring a quieter environment, I fill my quiet space with social media and news that keeps my emotions high and thoughts constantly running through my head.  Although I think that I am relaxing, I am actually creating more tension within myself by attempting to think through so many of the issues that are happening daily.  My spirit kept telling me that I needed to fast from social media, but I did not see social media as a reason for me not being able to decompress and think through some very important personal issues.

So, today I decided that I am going to take a break from everyone’s updates and adventures and just listen to the silence.  I woke up early this morning to let the dog out and ended up not being able to go back to sleep.  I immediately filled this quiet time with social media updates that I had missed while I was sleeping.  Much of what I read was humdrum, a few thought-provoking posts, but most of it was not going to help me solve much of what I am dealing with at this moment.  I realized that I spent an hour just thumbing through the various sites and could have used that quiet time to pray and think.  I closed my applications, turned over my phone and went into a moment of prayer and meditation.  I dozed off and woke back up still very tense, but those few moments told me that I needed more quiet time.

My husband always says that I spend too much time in my phone, but I take his comments lightly because I feel he is being judgey.  While in law school, he saw my levels of productivity when I took a break from social media and my levels when I was actively engaged in social media.  He has a perspective that I don’t and instead of me being open to his opinion, I talked myself into thinking that I was perfectly balancing my consumption of social media and my quiet time.  His opinion has some validity, but I had to get to this place on my own time and own accord.  So, today I am here, listening to the silence.  I am allowing the words of my mind to run its course without having to fight against the images or updates I am reading.  I am taking a step back from the flow of life and taking a deep breath.  I am inhaling strength, power, and self-control.  I am exhaling stress, doubt, and fear.  I am inhaling success, favor, and productivity.  I am exhaling failure, missed opportunities, and laziness.  I am inhaling patience, kindness, and empathy.  I am exhaling impatience, bitterness, and selfishness.

I am releasing the toxicity that has been built up and cleansing my soul for something new.  Greater may be ready to enter into your life, but you may be filled with so much noise and negativity that there is no place for the energy needed to get to the next step of your journey.  Everyday there are new lessons to be learned but there has to room for them to take root in your heart.  Many of those lessons cannot be learned from listening to others but listening to the silence.  The silence is speaking and it is telling you something.  Do you hear it?

Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Bring Back Sunday Dinner

Our generation has steered away from traditional anything but one tradition that must remain is Sunday dinner.  Today we celebrated my husbands godson’s christening today and had dinner at another friend’s home.  Some of their family was present, as well as a few friends.  We spent time watching football, discussing rivalries and laughing at my child sing the Philadelphia Eagles fight song, much to my dismay.  Our friends family got on the road home and the men sat down to doze off to late afternoon football games.  Us women went outside to light the fire pit, make smores, and talk about life.

The few hours we spent talking passed by so quickly, and we got a chance to candidly discuss religion, spirituality, relationships, friendships, finances, futures, dreams, growth and found so many common threads in our success and many of our struggles.  Taking a moment away from it all to simply connect and be vulnerable was rejuvenating and empowering.  We all felt connected and less alone, despite feeling as if we were the only ones experiencing socks left on the floor or clothes randomly placed throughout the house! We affirmed that we are normal and many husbands do the same things.

I have been longing to connect with many of my friends again because so much time has passed since we just sat down to talk and laugh face to face.  Just a few years ago, we had no problem getting together just to catch up and create memories.  Now we have gotten so busy being homeowners, wives, mothers, fathers, husbands, students or just busy trying to get somewhere soon that we rarely stop to connect and recharge.  We keep saying tomorrow instead of making a plan today.  I am challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and spend my weekends spending time with people, doing nothing but laughing and talking.

Money does not always have to spent to have a good time.  Pick up a few sandwiches, a bottle of wine and a few snacks (if the kids are coming) and enjoy each others company.  Don’t get too busy that you miss the chance to see your friends and hear about their accomplishments and be a sound board for their dreams.  The only way we can survive, is by being there for each other and extending that love that is needed to continue on.

I am so blessed to be around such amazing women and watch how God is moving in all of our lives.  I pray you pick up a tradition that reconnects you with your loved ones. Sunday Dinner.  Get togethers.  Laugh.  Cry.  Create memories.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.