Opening Up Will Change Your Life

openingup1I used to be more outgoing in my young adult years. I wanted to be around everybody. I wanted to have get-togethers every weekend…now…not so much.

As time has gone on and my focus has been more on raising productive members of society, I have turned into somewhat of a hermit. I rarely shared my life with anyone, especially anything that I was feeling. After you have someone betray your trust, you stop giving it away so freely. I really have become a serious introvert due to past hurts.

I am definitely not saying that I am unhappy with how things are now because in these quiet days, I have learned more about myself and I have fallen in love with this woman right here. I am motivated now more than ever to see my successes and my dreams come true. I know that I deserve it…I did not always feel that way.

Opening up? Not many people want to do that. Many of us hold back…we don’t say whatopeningup2 we really feel. I am guilty of being like this. As I mature, notice I didn’t say as I get older because age hardly matters, I have begun to express myself and not hold on to it and complain to someone else about the experience.

We need to give ourselves the room to say, “I am sad…lonely…tired. I am scared of this. I am feeling insecure about that.” We need to open up! I mean, not to everyone of course. That would be crazy. I just can’t see how it will benefit you to tell everyone you know your personal business, especially if they are not a prayer warrior, encourager, or cheerleader. Everyone that is your “friend” is not always your friend. I learned that young and early. But anyway that is another blog post.

openingupWe are going to be living our own lives and we should just be who we are with no apologies. We need to live it with our whole real, authentic, kind, crazy, soft, funny, hurting. loving selves…why keep it in hiding?

Do you hide who you are because you are afraid of being hurt? Afraid of not being understood? Afraid that they will see you as overly sensitive or emotional? We need to worry less about what others are thinking and more about what will make us feel whole; happy. It is time we live our truth. I will say for myself, that it is time I live my truth…out loud! I have to take up the space that I want to without worrying about comments from the peanut gallery. You should too!

Now, you have to ask yourself how long you are willing to wait to be who you truly are. How long are you gonna stay away from the real you?

There is a plan for your life. There are people who are meant to be permanent fixtures for you, and experiences that you are meant to have and all will make you into a better person. It is true! We cannot continue to shut ourselves off from those people and experiences and miss seeing the best part of us revealed. We are not going to get to meet or get closer to those people or have those experiences if we stay comfortable. IMG_3773

With this new year approaching, I am ready to make some changes but I am not waiting for the clock to strike 12 to change them. I want to be the woman that I am meant to be. That means that opening up, loving people, being real even with the chance of rejection are risks that I will have to take. I am willing to be broken again in order to be remade and willing to lose to make room for my wins.

We should all want to get to the place where we can talk openly about what scares us, what hurt us, how we are feeling, and what can heal us. When someone asks us ‘How are you?”, we should be able to answer honestly and not just give that common answer.

When we open up, we allow ourselves to be…to change and to grow.

We all have hearts beating that let us know that we are alive. Every person or experience that we hand our heart over to is not going to return it in the condition that it was given to them. Know that! It is going to beat a little different. Whether the experience is seen as good or a bad one for you, your heart is affected and it never would have been had you not allowed yourself to experience and feel. We have to be grateful for the opportunity to feel the experience and grow from it. Use the experience for good and become a better you. It’s a beautiful thing!

We just have to allow ourselves to be ourselves. Whatever it is that you are….silly, weird, funny, loving, freaky, or quiet…be yourself!

openingup3I wonder how most people would feel if they had nothing to hide. Imagine peace…

I have to make sure that for myself, I am surrounded by people that will not be judgemental or weirded out by my realness, my past, my present situation, or where I am headed.

I hope that you can find the same peace in those around you…

 

Is Thanksgiving Important to Anyone Anymore?

thanksgiving191I will never forget the Thanksgivings that I experienced as a little girl. So much fun and family! Oh, how I missed the days when my family planned meals and I got a chance to play with cousins and eat all of the great food that my family made. My family has a bunch of great cooks! We ate until we were miserable, took, naps and got up and did it all over again. Ahhhhhh Family!

The true meaning of Thanksgiving for me is family, gratitude, and thankfulness. It should be a WHOLE day focused on spending time with family and friends enjoying each other’s company, good food, and a great football game. I honestly do not like the new era where we almost forget about Thanksgiving and go right into the Christmas holiday. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, I just like to have that day to hang out with loved ones and eat and laugh the day away.

We cannot let this day go by and not teach our children what Thanksgiving meant to us when we were their age. I tell my boys what we used to hear and do and we have made our own traditions along the way because being a military family, we were rarely with family for the holidays.thanksgiving193

  • We watch the parades, football, and television specials.
  • We take time away from tv and devices to just hang out and talk with loved ones.
  • There is rarely any drama. People should put aside their differences for at least a day and be grateful for the time spent.
  • Talk about food. Who made what…what is in it. What is your favorite food?
  • We always say what we are thankful for in our prayers before eating. It teaches gratitude and I teach my boys this beyond the holiday.
  • Contributing to food shelters/banks and other charities help to make Thanksgiving about sharing and be thankful for the abundance that you have.
  • Prepare a dish or do a craft together. When I involve my boys in cooking, they seem to eat more. Crafts are just fun and they reinforce family time.

I like to shop for the holidays but I hate that for me to do it, someone has to take time away from their families to work. This holiday truly should be enjoyed but it can bring about as much stress as it does joy. From what I understand, there are many Americans that don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. Depending on the job or career you have, Thanksgiving is just a time for you to work and make someone else rich while you sacrifice time with your family.

thanksgiving192There is really is no hype of build-up to Thanksgiving anymore. There is no Black Friday excitement because the deals are already out there for the taking. Compared to Halloween and Christmas, we just can’t see that Thanksgiving has much of a presence at all and it is so sad.

Thanksgiving no longer has a central tone to it. Yes, we get excited about the football game and the food, but they rarely focus on the family getting together to be grateful and thankful for time with each other. Do they even bother to “sell” the holiday the way they do Halloween, Christmas, and the New Year? They may try to push a few cooking supplies or recall romaine lettuce again but ummmmmmm… (shrugs).

At the end of the day, I guess there is no way to really market Thanksgiving in a way that focuses on family and thankfulness because who can make money off of that right? The lack of marketing for it makes people forget about it more and more every year.

Well regardless of the lack of marketing, I plan on getting together with loved ones and stuffing my face and taking a few naps during the game. I plan on hearing plenty of laughter and talking between us all and remembering to be thankful for the opportunity to care for one another.

Wishing you the best Thanksgiving with your family and friends!!thanksgiving194

Eat everything! Laugh…cry…nap…cheer and eat leftovers all weekend.

Be grateful. Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Friendsgiving!

Never Worry About “Laundry” Again!

 

laundry1So I am sitting in my closet looking around for something to throw on to run to the store for ingredients to make the icing (yes, I want a cupcake or two…or 24!). I doubled back to this set of drawers that has the jeans that I was wearing last night laying on top of it. Does anyone else have a “laundry spot”? I mean a chair, table, spot on the bed or whatever that they put their clothes that are not dirty “enough” to wash but you don’t hang or fold them up? Guilty!

It had me thinking about some of the issues I have that I need to deal with but I just let them pile up in a little corner to deal with when I have the “energy”. We cannot hope that those things just stay in the corner and never come out again.

It is time to do the “laundry” ya’ll!! I know that at some point, everyone does this. I can’t possibly have stumbled onto something new. We all have things that we need to deal with in our lives. We have those things that we would rather bury and/or put off for another day. I am really starting to see that I feel so much better about myself and my life when I just force myself to deal with those things.

adult alone anxious black and white

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

If you have people and experiences in your life that force you to get your life together and deal with the hard things, those are the ones that you should lean into. They are FOR you and your growth and success. I feel like these people and experiences are for our healing. They may make us uncomfortable while forcing us to face our issues but when we come out on the other side of that thing,…Shining!

What is meant for us, is truly meant for us, whether we see it as good or not-so-good. The person, that job/career, that illness, that state, that calling… it’s yours!  We might as well face it and do what we need to do to make it a thing that we can be at peace with.

Alright so let’s start talking about what you have been putting off. What is it? Paying bills or breaking up with him/her? What are the issues you have been piling up in the chair or corner like yesterday’s laundry? Afraid to commit to something or is it time to leave that job and chase your dreams of being an entrepreneur? We all have our own.

laundryWhat is your next move?

Is it time to have that relationship talk with someone?

Time to confront your boss about a few things?

Time to have an honest conversation with someone who calls themselves a friend? Guilty!

Start that workout plan and tweak your diet? YUP!

There are people around us that will support the promises and ultimatums that we have made for ourselves if we share them…with the right people, of course. There are steps that we can take that will get us on the right track to getting our shhhhh together. For me, it is time that I get moving. What about you?

food journal

diary of food eaten throughout the day when on a diet (shallow DOF)

Ok, so I will share something that I have been “sitting” in the corner. I have not been happy with how I am feeling. I have been tired a lot and I am low on energy. I honestly have been to the gym sporadically and I can feel it. I also recently moved and if you have ever been in this space, you know what happens when you move. OTHER people feed your family!! You eat at every drive-thru you can find because it is so much easier…plus they packed all of your cooking supplies. Anywho…I was eating BAD! Now I am staring at a food log and workout log that I should be using one of my pretty purple gel pens to fill out but ummmmmmm….. I am tired of feeling the way I do so I am done being lazy!

Today is the day! It is time that I stop with the distractions and deal with my stuff. Now, most of it seems to be little and insignificant but they all add up and I could have been much farther if I had just moved my butt.  Today is the day to face those issues and move toward how things should be. I like peace and I love that feeling of having things taken care of.

laundry2Sometimes we do not face issues because we just do not know how to approach them. We do not know where to start. I cannot tell you what to do or how to do it, but I  can tell you that pushing it to the side will not make things better. You cannot just pile all of your questions and issues into a corner. The best thing that we can do for ourselves is to think about some actions that we can take that will help us get to solutions. Take those actions and if we fail…think of another possible solution.

IMG_0948For me, that is the first step to overcoming my issues. I have to talk to the people and do the things that make me nervous or scared because they usually are what I need to face my issues. So, whatever those actions are, do them. Whoever those people are, talk to them…soon!

Actually, just do it now. It takes the load off of your shoulders (and your laundry chair) and gets things taken care of. There is nothing better than handling your business and freeing yourself of the things that are hidden.

8 Hacks to Maximize your Hotel Stay

hoteltips1I love to travel. If I am home for too long without a little break, I go through withdrawals. Traveling relaxes me. It gives me a chance to clear my head and think about something besides cooking and cleaning. I get the chance to refill my cup because I am constantly pouring out.

I spend quite a bit of time away from home…between visits, vacations and my son and the busyness of chasing his dreams. I have learned so much about how to save money and maximize my stays, whether in big or small ways. We may not find the hotel that has it all and is our true “home away from home”, but we can make even the smallest getaway feel like a gift.

Here are a few of the things that I have learned through my travels and stays in hotels…

Arrive early, stay late.

I learned this little treat on my last cruise in August. If you are a part of a loyalty group, based on availability, if you ask about coming early or staying later, the hotel will usually oblige. Believe me, it is not unusual for someone to ask for an extension. They will hoteltips2normally say that they cannot guarantee the request in advance but they can make a note in the system and most will try to accommodate. On our last stay in Miami, not only did they allow us an early check-in at 11:00 am, but they upgraded our room to the penthouse suite…oceanfront! So whether you arrive one hour earlier, or four, like we did, it is still a win.

Let them know in advance that you are celebrating an occasion.

Call the hotel ahead of time and let them know of your occasion. Whatever it is…anniversary, birthday, baby, or just a night away from the kiddos, give them the opportunity to gift you something. Whatever it is, they will be happy to show you their appreciation for choosing their property to celebrate your special occasion.

Know something about the property you’re staying at.

Do your best to show up with some knowledge about the amenities and the fees and incidentals that may be included. What perks do they have? Also ask the hotel agent about any insider information, places you should visit, restaurants, or practices that you can employ during your stay. They may have special connections or coupons to make your experience more pleasurable.

Be Loyal.

hoteltipsMost hotels treat their loyal people like royalty. Try to find your favorite place to stay when you visit certain places and be loyal to them. Learn about their loyalty programs and how you can make redemptions and receive perks for your stay. This is important for adding to your experience. Be sure that you find out if you are a member of their loyalty program. You may earn complimentary nights, vouchers, or extras while you are there. A lot of people have travel credit cards that they may be able to add cash or points to the room or use for hotel breakfast if it is not included.

Just ask

Do not be afraid to ask for extras! The last hotel I stayed in was a four-star and they had slippers, robes, extra conditioner, iPhone cords, extra pillows and additional coffee that were complimentary. Just ask! Most of the time, the hotel has basic sundry items; they just don’t advertise it.

Know The hotel lingo.

You may want to request an upgrade, room change, or put in a complaint…know the hotel language so that you get what you are asking for. When you use hotel verbiage (i.e. occupancy, loyalty, satisfaction or guest) you let them know your status as a frequent traveler and that you know your rights. Just remember that it is all about who you talk tohoteltips3 and how you talk to them. If you are not happy with the outcome of what you ask for or a complaint, make a suggestion yourself of a fair solution. Try to resolve all requests through the person you are talking to but take any complaints straight to management.

Book direct to save money.

Most people use travel portals like Hotel.com or Expedia to book their stays. You can usually get the same prices, if not less and receive your hotel loyalty perks and other rewards. You may also be able to negotiate a better price. Often the local manager may be happy to work with you, especially with big party group rates.

Get to know the staff and tip well.

IMG_5122Being kind does truly go a long way. Still talking about our last stay in Miami, we tipped well and word got out. Whenever we strolled around in the hotel or came in and out, we always had someone wanting to cater to us and calling us by name, even in the restaurant. Whenever possible, call them by name. We all like it when they remember our names. Also, ask the staff about their opinion on local insights. Doing these little things really does make your stay a lot more enjoyable in my opinion.

I am sure that there are plenty more tips and tricks but this is from my experience with my last stay in Miami.

Happy Travels!

I promise!!

ipromiseI’m on vacation right now and in my down times, I’m reflecting on Cher. I always use my vacation for this and last time I didn’t make one promise to myself so I went home and jump right back into the rat race that I created.

Life is so wildly unpredictable. We create businesses and see failure. We work hard to be our best and there will always be someone who feels you’re not good enough. You can even support someone you love only to have them disappear on you when you need them.

Good ol’ life… unpredictable and sometimes, so unfair!

Life is what it is…we cannot control it. People are people and you know we can’t control them and we should not put any energy toward trying to.

What we CAN control is the person we are inside. Our character, the kindness we give, Promiseand the promises we make to ourselves…we can control all of that. The promises we make to ourselves center us, they give us confidence and a destination.

My life gets crazy at times but one thing I try to do is keep my promises to myself. They make and keep me strong. Every promise I keep to myself gives me confidence and it feels amazing to see what happens with a promise kept.

As I sit here looking at all of this beautiful water and how perfect God formed the things in nature, I’m gonna make new promises to myself.

Let’s see…

IMG_E5328I promise not to complain. Some of these places I’m visiting have people with little means and they are so happy. I have no right to complain with all of the blessings I have seen in my life.

I promise myself to believe in miracles, always! I promise to show kindness and compassion to others.

I promise to forgive myself and others…daily. Life is just too short.

I promise to respect myself and walk away from things/people that don’t serve me.

I promise to be all in!! In all that I do. I need to work on removing distractions for this one. But I can keep it.

I believe I can keep these promises even when life gets crazy, when others don’t support or love me or what I do, and when life is just doing its thing.

I will continue to hold my head up and only look down when I’m admiring cute shoes. I may not be who and what I want to be right now. I may not have what I want right now….but no matter what, I have those promises to myself and regardless of what I see in any moment, that will keep me strong and feeling amazing.

Do you have promises that you have made to yourself?

Our promises empower us! When we keep those promises, we see who we really are. That is our character…shows our values…and defines us, not the things that happen to us. The promises we make to ourselves free us up to live and see the truth of who we really are.

Go ahead and make some promises to yourself today!!!ipormise2

Those promises say who you are and what you represent and will be your guiding light. Say them to yourself and go all in!!!

Promises you make personal will make you live with higher expectations for yourself. They will give you energy and vision. They will bring clarity to your heart.

Make promises to you. Get ready to live with new vigor and enthusiasm for your life.

Enjoy!!

You Don’t Have To Clap Back!

ClapbackBefore I found my Peace, I used to be a control freak. Yup, it’s true!!

For one, I sometimes do take pride in having a Type A personality. When I let that run wild, I believe that I held myself back from enjoying life and truly being happy.

Clapback1Finally, one day it hit me(over and over again) that I do not need to have complete control over everything in my life! And honestly, I have accepted that not everything in my life needs to be controlled. There…I said it. Even better than that, not everything warrants our energy or a reaction at all.

A lot of us spend plenty of time giving our energy over to things that we cannot control or if you are a Type A personality, we are reacting to things that challenge our minds. We cannot control the fact that we did not get the promotion, someone giving us an attitude, a client canceling at the last minute, or an Uber driver making the wrong turn. Those things are completely out of our control, yet we sometimes find ourselves stressing out over them. There we are getting frustrated because things didn’t go our way and BOOM we give our energy over to people and situations that don’t deserve it.

What I have come to realize is I just do not need to have a reaction for everything that happens. I do not have to react to everything and everybody that bothers me, to every situation that unfolds unfavorably in front of me or when people treat me unfairly. What did Michelle Obama say? “When they go low, we go high”….that is me…trying to live definingyourself3above it all.

Of course, I am not ok when these things happen, but it does not mean that they deserve a reaction or my valuable energy. When we react, does it ever change the outcome? Most of the time it doesn’t. It does change the energy that flows through us and changes who we are and/or are striving to be.

My desire is to be at peace. Peace is something that we should all strive for. Stop feeling like you have to react to everything. That is where we find our inner peace. Stop clapping back at life! For real!! Now that I have started, I feel like it is my superpower.

If all it takes is to stop reacting to every single thing…do that! Stop clapping back! All inner peace is, is that no matter what is going on outside of you, you have unconditional Clapback2confidence that all will be ok. When you are at peace, you still have thoughts, things still happen…you just don’t react to them. Of course, you may respond to them but responding and reacting are two different things. Don’t let things consume you. Don’t give your energy away to overthinking.

Things may frustrate you, people may annoy you, you may be disappointed in where you are in your career right now…No need to react. How you react to what happens in your life is EVERYTHING…

Life is not about knowing everything

Life is not about controlling every outcome in your life or fighting and always getting your way. It is about looking for answers and accepting what you don’t know when you don’t know it. It is about accepting that there are still things that we are in search of. IMG_0605

While we are searching, life is gonna be crazy. The twists and turns, failures, rejections and inconveniences…but know that you can still find peace if you choose to accept the moments as temporary because they are. And guess what? Temporary things do not always deserve our energy or a reaction.

There is peace in that alone. I found some. Hope you find yours.

So Much More Than You Think

selfworthI don’t know why, but self-worth is a confusing thing to many.

Emotions move from one extreme to the other. One minute you just know you are the *ish and the next you feel worthless. Emotions can make us crazy! We have all had moments of low self-worth which is honestly ludicrous to me because we are all so freakin’ awesome…seriously.

Now, when I get in my mood and recognize my *ish, I try my best but I sometimes still get the urge to feel less than fabulous…small. When I get this way, I do a lot of things to get out of my funk, first things first though…my thinking. I used to look for my self worth in other people and things, pretty much many things outside of myself. I mean in a far off distant land somewhere…waaay over there…there I was looking for my value. selfworth3

I looked for it in people. When we think we are not enough, we look for people to tell us who we are. We look for them to give us value and hand us our self-worth. The problem is these people are usually unavailable and uninterested in having this job.

We also try to find our self worth in the successes. Since we are in a place of feeling like we are not good enough, we get to a place where we are desperate to prove that we are the bomb and we work ourselves half to death and look for our values in the abilities and the things that we can purchase to make us seem valuable.

Some people try to fake their way through to their self-worth. We are who we are. You can fake all day, but just like when you try to paint over a wall with no primer, the true colors are gonna come bleeding through. Do not overcompensate by faking your character or emotions.

selfworth2There are people who will chase that dollar down so that they can get all of the things that “Joe” has and prove that they should be valued. They are out there flexin’ in that brand new car and living beyond their means but eating Oodles of Noodles at home alone.

We have to stop searching for our self worth in external things. It is a human or natural tendency so we have to work on that one. Please do not beat yourself up about it. Recognize it and work on it.

What we have to realize is we can change this habit, any habit really that we do not want. If you have aligned your self-worth up with things, you will never have enough or be enough. That money, success, and that person will never be enough. And another thing, you will never be that person on social media that is more confident, funny, or successful than you…it is impossible.

So what can we do?

First of all, you have to realize that you matter! Everything about you is important. Whatselfworth1 you say and do matters. You have the ability to make an impact with just your presence before you say or do anything at all.

AND, realize that you are just not going to be perfect. And guess what? You do not need to be. I believe that as long as we commit to being better, doing something to improve as a human, it is all good. We should accept who we are, as imperfect as we are, and be better, because YOU want to, not because someone has a problem with you being you.

IMG_0874Knowing these things and putting them to practice has really helped to center me. What you see when you see me, is someone who is the product of all of my experiences thus far. All of my experiences, upbringing, and personality quirks all wrapped up in one hot mama! The more experience that I gain, the more value is added to me. The more unique I also become.

I have value because of what I have experienced…so do you!! Stop underestimating your value…and definitely, do not let anyone else do it.

SO we need to show ourselves that we like what has been created in us…LOVE it, actually. We can do that by being and living as our authentic selves. SO just like you “like” and “love” someone else’s post on Facebook, do the same for yourself…give yourself a high five because you like what you did and who you are becoming….

Let’s get it!