My Sister is Here!

IMG_3399So it is happening!! My sister is moving to North Carolina to save me! My baby sis, Dee is a lot younger than me but our communication over the years has been easy. She is a mature young soul and she has my sense of humor…what a blessing! Having family around feels good. Connection with my siblings gives me a different kind of feeling. We laugh, play, and have conscience conversation, which someone like me craves a lot of.

This may be a new chapter for her but it is also for me and my family. We get to love on her, show her unity, support, and utter shenanigans on a daily basis. It won’t all be fun and games because growth is always necessary. I can’t wait to see what the move to a new environment is going to do for her…and me. Here’s to Sister Love!!SGFR2736

 

The Importance Of A Sister

© Shiv Sharma

Published: June 2008

A sister is someone who loves you from the heart.
No matter how much you argue, you cannot be drawn apart.
She is a joy that cannot be taken away.
Once she enters your life, she is there to stay.

A friend who helps you through difficult times,
Her comforting words are worth much more than dimes.
A partner who fills your life with laughs and smile,
These memories last for miles and miles.

When she is by your side, the world is filled with life.
When she is not around, your days are full of strife.
A sister is a blessing who fills your heart with love.sisters1
She flies with you in life with the beauty of a dove.

A companion to whom you can express your feelings,
She doesn’t let you get bored at family dealings.
Whether you are having your ups or downs,
She always helps you with a smile and never frowns.

With a sister, you cannot have a grudge.
She is as sweet as chocolate and as smooth as fudge.
Having a sister is not just a trend.
It is knowing you can always turn to her, your best friend.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/why-i-love-my-sister

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Misconceptions = Missed Opportunities

misconceptionsNo matter who you are, relationships are very important for you. Close relationships, either family or long-time friendships, are what we build our perceptions on life from. We all see things through our own special “lenses” and make our own stories from our experiences. With that being said, most of our time is spent with the people that have a direct impact on how we see the world around us.

Because we are all imperfect, we will sometimes fall short on seeing love as it truly is. The people in our lives may hurt us or we may hurt them and then comes judgment. But we do not just judge the action, we judge the person and love itself…we may even throw in the towel and quit the person and LOVE altogether. How many times have you heard someone say, “I am through with love” just because of their experience with one person?

There are so many misconceptions about love and relationships and I think we can tackle a few of them now so that we can learn to love people where and how they are, in turn loving ourselves. misconceptions4

For one, you do not have to agree about everything! In my experience, when there are differences, and mature communication, the relationships are strengthened, examined, and value is added to each person when you are free to say how you feel without judgment. If your loved one cannot speak their opinion without you feeling the need to change their opinion, is that an act of true love or control? We do not have to debate with people just because they do not see life the way we do. It actually makes life more interesting to see a situation through the eyes of a loved one and it can bring us closer to them.

Why is it that we would rather be the one whose right than be the person who asks questions to gain an understanding of another’s opinions? I think a lot of people love to hear themselves talk and do not have time to listen. While this person is talking away, they are missing out on the chance to see the other person’s ideas; see where they are misconceptions1coming from, and therefore get a different perspective. From my recent encounters, I feel like we are losing the beauty of an actual deep conversation. I don’t mean all…but I do mean some…In any conversation we have, we should look to be enlightened some instead of looking for the moment to tell someone what to do or say or how to be. Instead of being so combative, we should ask more questions ( except surface talk…I cannot stand surface conversation for more than a minute.) to find out more. In doing so, it may change the way we see things and we may find out that we are not as right about something that we thought we had figured out.

Another misconception about relationships is that humility makes you weak! Because we all have different opinions about things, there is bound to be some shaky ground when we are having conversations with others. Many of us have believed something for so long that the standard of thinking that we have will never change (or it seems that way). Not many will admit it but I think that a lot of people want to change someone’s mind about what they believe without even wanting to know why they believe what they do. They don’t know what the other person has gone through or the experiences that have impacted their view of the world. They just want the person to agree with their views…narcissism at its finest.

We have no reason to look down on or speak negatively about ourselves. We do have tomisconceptions2 be careful not to think too highly of ourselves though. It can be dangerous if we are “getting high off our own supply” and thinking that we can do no wrong. Humility attracts people that want to share and dialogue. Humility takes us away from seeing ourselves as “perfect” and encourages dialogue…giving us an opportunity to add value to each other.

People are different and that is one thing in life that we cannot avoid. Why try to avoid it anyway? We should embrace and try to understand the differences that we have. Gaining understanding helps to reveal the beauty that really does still exist in this world and makes every day a special and unique. We should not assume that we cannot give love to people that do not look, act, or think the way that we do. That’s lame and can leave us lonely if we get extra literal about it. More importantly, is that what love looks like? There is gonna be friction involved when we are dealing with other people. We can learn to respect the differences and let others be free to be themselves in our presence…especially because we want that same thing from them.

There is a problem with us wanting people to think the way we do. I get it…it is your world and in your world, you are always right! We need to embrace everyone with their different thoughts and beliefs…make a big ol’ unity salad! (yes, I am hungry)….anyway…how boring would the world be if we all thought the same, had the same interest and whatever else…clones…boring! I guess people wouldn’t look down on misconceptions3each other or talk negatively…still would be boring. Wanting others to be just like you ruin the chance for diversity, unity, civil dialogue…and growth!

Allow people to be who they are around you. You will deepen your friendships and relationships and find out so much more about who they really are. You may even find out who you really are! You may also find yourself sharing more about you. Adding value to each other is an important part of what deep relationships are all about.

Are You Living Your Best Life?

trysomethingnew1Do you feel like your life is on pause? Is this a chapter in your life that you are confused about what you want to do or frustrated about where you currently are? Do you need something new? Most of the time, we like to be comfortable. Most people just sit and wait for the next thing to come to them..or they just keep doing what they are doing and complain and/or overthink about it the whole time.

So what do we complain and/of overthink about?

  • We want more money and more financial stability
  • a great partnertrysomethingnew
  • we want to lose weight because we are sick and tired of being tired or being self-conscious all of the time
  • frustrated because we feel stuck in our jobs and we are not using our creative energy
  • we want more sex
  • we want more positive energy around us

That is just some of them. If we do not try something new to change the experiences that affect us negatively, nothing will change!

We have to occasionally introduce something new into our lives…it can be something big or small. Doing the same thing over and over again is going to get us what we have always gotten and if it is not what you want, why don’t we change it? You are not going to get a new result doing what you have always done. Do something NEW…

trysomethingnew3New things not only give us different result but we learn more and they bring us happiness, we receive change and a broader perspective and development. We never know how we will grow from that something new. When we do new things, a lot can happen to us. We can overcome fear, we learn new experiences and how to conduct ourselves in uncomfortable situations, get to know more about ourselves, grow, and maybe even meet some new people.

We have to stop spending time trying to hope and wish things into existence. Not gonna happen! We have to move! Put those thoughts into action. It may take some time and energy but if you want something you are gonna to have to put feet to it. If we don’t ever try anything new, we leave a lot out there to be discovered and enjoyed by someone else. Something that was supposed to be yours.

If you are out here feeling like your life is on pause, go do something new. Take a step toward that dream. Who wants to do the safe things all of the time? That life, I can imagine, is probably kind of boring. I mean, don’t do anything illegal, but venture off the beaten path every once in a while. Start challenging yourself, talking to people you would not normally talk to, Take the stairs, research a hobby, go find a completely different job or partner, have honest conversations with your loved ones…whatever it is, do it! If it makes you nervous…try it, within reason of course. Just try something new, something you have always wanted to do.

Ok so here is a reminder of what happens when we try new things…We

  • Meet new peopleIMG_6278
  • Learn more about ourselves
  • Expose ourselves to new ideas
  • Relieve boredom
  • Break up the routine in our lives
  • Increase our overall satisfaction
  • Give us more interesting things to talk about
  • Expands our perspective on life
  • overcome fear
  • We become more interesting people
  • Discover what we like and what we don’t like
  • Boost our overall confidence level
  • We experience more of what life has to offer

See, there are so many awesome reasons to get out there and try new things. What is holding you back? We can’t be afraid to get out of our comfort zone. You will only get to live this life once and I am sure you do not want to get to the end of it and have a lot of regrets.

trysomethingnew2This summer, why don’t you go ahead and try to become a little bit of a “yes” person! When the opportunity presents itself for you to have a new experience, challenge, or idea, go for it! Try not to make an excuse and just go for it. You will see that the benefits will more than likely outweigh the risks. Isn’t life way too short to settle for living a bland one?

So what are you going to try first?

Why Your Squad May Be Hurting You

SquadgoalsOk, so let’s talk about your squad. I am proud to say that I am an introvert but I am a timely social butterfly when life calls for it. At the same  time, I would love to have a squad like that show “Girlfriends.” They had a little bit of everything and that is what friendships are all about.

We do tend to have a wide variety of people in our lives. I have some people that I have communicated with since younger than high school days, people that I have worked with (past and present) that I still talk to, family/friends, and church associates that have squadgoals3become more. I mean, we all should have that one friend that you should never put on speakerphone (this would be me), the one that is always down to eat or shop, and the spontaneous one who is always down to do something crazy.

One thing on the list of changes that I wanna see in my life for this year was having a positive vibes only circle. I mean truthfully, we are all going to have experiences that are trying and cause not-so-positive feelings, but having a squad that you can count on to bring you out of depression and add value to your life is a gold mine.

Consider who your people are…and what you actually need. Then think about this… yousquadgoals2 are a reflection of the people that you surround yourself with.

That means you need to think about who you want to be…Do you want to be positive? Driven? An entrepreneur? A go-getter? Empowered? That means that you need to get around those that are where you want to be or are working on going in the same direction so that you can motivate each other and hold one another accountable.

Take stock. Look at your closest friends and ask yourself if they challenge you, elevate you, listen to you, hold you accountable, or add value to you. Remember that the people squadgoals4that you are spending most of your time with are the ones that will impact your mindset so you have to make sure that you are on common ground for the most part if you are ready to grow and have that positive mindset. Do not invest your time in people that drain you or drag you down. Do not listen to people that tell you that you are dreaming too big or that you cannot do something. Weed those suckers and dream-killers out of your immediate circle.

Positive Vibes Only!!!!

Sometimes it is hard for us to see the ones that are draining us. Check on yourself after you have spent a little time with your friends/family or after a phone conversation. How do you feel? Are you drained, sad, worrying? If they are one of those people that you roll your eyes at when their name comes across your phone..they are one of THEM!

squadgoals1We have to stop allowing negative thoughts to set up camp in our brains. They are going to come but that does not mean they can stay. And that means the negative people as well! If it or they are not going to add to you and help you be your best self…they need to keep their distance. Spend less time with them! Don’t answer every call, especially when you are having an excellent day. Do not get me wrong, none of us is perfect, but we can work toward having what we need in order to be who we desire to be. Paying attention to who is surrounding us is an act of self-love and self-care so do not feel guilty for creating a space between you and them.  We want to spend most of our time with people who inspire us, encourage us and enrich our lives.

IMG_2120I need a squad around me that consistently build me up and add value to me. I deserve that because that is the kind of friend that I am. I truly want to be surrounded by a bunch of beautiful badass women! There are so many of you out there and you deserve the same. Choose wisely. There is no rush. Where you are going, not every friend you presently have is equipped to go, know that. And that is ok!

You should want your friends to be whole and happy and they should want the same for you. You should want those same friends to not be afraid to call you out on your BS because you would give them the same. They should be ready to celebrate with you, mourn with you, and push you when you get lazy. When you have friends that support you and check on you, and even tell you when you are being an ass, you have everything…Congratulations!

Don’t Let Your Feelings Define You

definingyourself2The idea of being in tune with your feelings is not a bad thing. My only problem with feelings is when someone gets so far IN them that they allow those feelings to define them. When your emotions are so overpowering that you lose control, it is like you are saying that the situation you are facing is what you are accepting…you are settling for that and if it is not building you or others up, helping you grow, or kind to you or anyone else, you should not accept it because it is not serving good to your spirit. One of the current sayings out there that I just do not agree with is, “it is what it is.” I do not know why but it just does not sit right with me. It almost has a quitter connotation with it and that is just one thing that I cannot relate with.

We have to learn to separate our emotions from reality. This has been one hard lesson for me but I had to stop taking everything so personally. We should not believe that we are defined by our emotions.

Think about the things we say to ourselves…

“I am boring”definingyourself1

“I am not good enough”

“I have no one to support me”

“I am alone because no one wants to be around me”

All of those feelings are just that, feelings. They are not real/true and we have to remember that feelings are fickle and temporary (thank God) and tomorrow is another day, heck…it can change within the next couple of seconds! Whatever negative things like the above statements that you are telling yourself…STOP!

If I can speak for myself, at one time or another, these are all things that I have said to myself, among other things that were not self-serving. I know now that this is not how I show love to myself so it is something that I am changing and I get better at it every day. I would not let anyone else say these things to me so why was I doing it to myself?! I use to be so timid and my self-love was at an all-time low but I can say that I have grown and I know better so I am doing better.

definingyourself4We may feel these things at some time or another but we have to know that it is an emotion and we will not feel that way forever. We can feel these emotions but we do not have to be them.

You can feel alone…but know that you are not or it will not be that way forever.

You can feel like you are not good enough for someone. Maybe they are the wrong one. You will not always feel that way. And make sure that you know that you are good enough for YOU.

We are allowed to feel what we feel, just to not make that feeling define who we are as a person.

Any feeling we have can and will change!

Remember that feelings are fleeting and can change in a manner of seconds. This is also why we should be careful not to speak or react out of our feelings.

We should listen to our hearts and our gut, recognize what we are feeling and work todefiningyourself3 think our way into another direction if those feelings are not kind. Sure, we can feel lonely, sad, angry, defeated, or whatever, we are entitled to that. We do have to also remember that it does not serve us to be unkind to ourselves so yes, you may be lonely but you are not a lonely person…get out there and be around others and separate yourself from that emotion. You may be sad or feeling defeated but you are not going to be defined as a sad or defeated person. You can change what you are feeling by responding differently.  Get out there and doing something you have always wanted to do, or try it again, do something that brings a smile to your face.

When you have negative emotions, you can always put something into action that can make that feeling whittle away. Those emotions do not have to define you. They are real and you have every right to feel them but if they are not helping you to grow and feel worthy of love, you need to save yourself from yourself and take action to get your emotions in line with who you know you are and/or can be. definingyourself

 

 

 

I Need To Slow Down!

slowdown1I am always trying to make sure that my schedule shows me and my world that I have things going on…I need to slow it down! Really! And I do know that I am not the only one so…

Repeat after me.

Good things take time so you can slow the f%$# down! Excuse my French (shoulder shrugs)

Good things are not the only things that take time, everything takes time…life takes time.

The more I realize this, the more I have been letting go of my cluttered work schedule and telling myself that I should be in “this” place right now in my business, finances, relationships, my life period!

I am in the process of letting go of those expectations. The more I let go, the happier I amslowdown3 and I am really seeing how a person can just live…and do it without regret. I also ignore the expectations that others have on me and oh what a relief it is!

Slowing down…slowing down and trusting the timing…putting it all in God’s hands.

I am making peace with the fact that I do not know where this blogging thing is going to take me. Making peace with the fact that only God knows what is best for me. I am making peace with not everyone will like me, listen to me, that my timing is sometimes very weird, and that my life will not always meet my expectations.

slowdown2I am patient, that is definitely true. I do not mind waiting for what is truly mine. Waiting does not mean that I am not driven or hungry for what I desire. To me, it shows my strength and resilience and wisdom! Waiting can be empowering and I am sure (because it has started happening with me) that beautiful things happen while you wait for your heart’s desire. I learn something with each moment I wait. Those lessons give me more opportunities to grow. The longer I wait, the more capable I feel that I am and the more likely I will end up where I belong…..where I belong… I belong nowhere,  I belong everywhere! Anywhere! So I keep moving forward…with patience.

“You only are when you realize you belong no place- you belong every place-no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.” Maya Angelou

So what you are not where “she” is in life, or you do not make as much money as your brother/sister/cousin/best friend. You are not behind in this life. You are not a failure! You are not lost! You are just you…and your life has its own timeline. My oldest son and Islowdown talk about this all of the time. He will be 26 this year and most of his childhood friends are married (some have been more than once) and have children. He is working, getting ready to go back to school for his Master’s and engaged to his high school sweetheart and dare I say that they are waiting until marriage before they engage in all that produces a family. He used to talk about how behind he is in life and questioned his journey. I always encourage him to not measure his life by the decisions of others in their lives. He should continue to love what is happening in his and be proud. He should understand that we all do not move in the same way, we just move forward making decisions that are hopefully good for us as individuals. Comparison is the thief of joy. Your journey is unique to you and only you.

Honestly, you have to believe that everything will come together in the end.

Sometimes we have to take a step back from our BIG picture and take a good look at the little things along the journey that we can do right now that will get us there and make us much happier, fulfilled and successful people. slowdown4

 

10 Best Tips to Managing Money

MoneymanagementMoney management is a very tricky subject that can leave many feeling apprehensive. Finances can lead to arguments in relationships and lots of worries, maybe even depression among some. I am well into my 40s and I have talked to people my age that have been putting off saving for retirement….NO! Some have never heard of having an emergency fund for a rainy day. It is never too late to get your finances on the right track so we need to get started and begin to make good financial choices so that we can live the life that we dream of.

So here are 10 money management tips to get us started on the right track…

  1. Acknowledge your priorities. Before we even think about creating a budget, we need to know what our priorities are. We have to see that our money goals match up with our money habits. Any part of your financial life that makes your stomachmoneymanagement2 sick at the mere thought of it is now a priority. Whatever concerns you most, make that a priority.
  2. Know your monthly income. This is so important because you cannot manage your money without knowing what you earn. This number is easier to know when you are a salaried employee. If you work for yourself, like I do, you have to estimate this number. Once you determined that number, do not forget to add your side gigs in.
  3. Track where you spend your money. Some banks have software that will show you where you are spending your money on the websites. This process can be overwhelming so taking it one month at a time. This means you have to keep receipts, credit card statements, bank statements, housing and utility bills, and those electronic payments like Amazon and PayPal records. Write down everything in categories and label your wants and needs.
  4. moneymanagement3Have a plan. First, we have to look at our spending habits. Look at your expenses, if you are spending money for a gym membership and you never go, it is not important so it can get cut out. Go walk in the park for free. Do you go out to eat every day? That is not necessary and can get cut down or out. Go do some grocery shopping and buy things that you can prepare and bring to work for lunch. Cut out what is not a need and/or not important to you and start saving to build your emergency fund.
  5. Stick to the plan. Once you figure out the plan, you have to stick to it! Give it a full month. You may have to tweak some things until it works for you. Find a budget that you may want to try. There are a few budget worksheets out there. My boys have vision boards so that they have visual goals that they see often. I believe this helps you stick to your plan because it keeps your goals fresh in your mind.
  6. Expect emergencies. We should always have some easily accessible liquid funds.  They say you should have six months of income saved, maybe you can start with having 1-3 months. You never know what may happen out there. You or your moneymanagement4partner may lose your job, or some medical emergency may arise, or a tire blows on your car. How you put away money away for an emergency is up to you. Having money to deal with problems as they come definitely gives you some relief and makes you feel more secure. Most emergencies have enough stress with them as it is; not having the finances to take care of them will add more.
  7. Save early and often. The sooner we save, the sooner we build interest. Whether you do a savings account or an IRA or 401k, you will still need to consider the future. I just started saving when I shop. No matter if its the grocery store or anywhere else, when the receipt says, “you saved $….,” I actually put it away so I really save it and not just spend it somewhere else.
  8. Take advantage of free money. If your employer matches your 401k, you need to take advantage of that, it’s free money! Another place to look is your health insurance. Some build up a little side savings account.
  9. Look at your debt again. You may need to consider refinancing your car for a lower rate or transferring a credit card balance to one with a lower interest rate. It is worth combing through your debt to find out where you can save money to put away.
  10. moneymanagement1Find what works for you and keep doing it. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Once you find a system that works for you, do not get distracted by the new trends, apps, and TV financial advisors advice. It is sometimes tempting to try the next new thing but if you are in a good rhythm, keep it going. Your focus will pay off!