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!

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!

Are You Supporting Yourself?

supportyourself1It is Tuesday!!

Tuesday is one of my favorite days! One reason is that I get to take Tuesday off from work, which honestly just means …FROM WORK! I still have 10 billion trillion other things going on so it does not mean rest.

Depending on how you look and life, the beginning of the week is either an opportunity to start something new or it is the beginning of another miserable week. Either way, I support you and I know that you will prove yourself right. For real… whether you plan to go through life hitting goals or drag ass, I support it. Why you say?

You are growing…or maybe you are stuck in the same position, for a while now. Whichever it is, you are trying. That is right, even if you are failing, you are trying and that is more than we can say about some other people in our lives. supportyourself3

If you are reading blogs, you are at least looking to grow, expand so you are trying right?

I question myself daily. I know you do! “What am I doing?” “Why am I doing it?”. Do you ask yourself the uncomfortable questions? I am always in my head because I am rarely a talker so the questions keep coming.  This is good and can be hard. I mean, who wants to go through life blind, accepting your surroundings and the things that are fed to you.

We all want more and we want better and that is always a good thing. We do not always know what “more” or “better” is and hey, we may not even know what it is going to take to get there when we figure it out but we should be proud of ourselves for even having supportyourself5the thoughts. This means that we are not content with sitting still and being comfortable. I always talk to my boys about comfort and how it can have you stuck when you are made for so much more.

We woke up today! That alone is a reason to be thankful…and more so, you got out of bed. That takes guts in this world some days. Be proud of yourself for going for it, for handling things! You are taking on the stresses of life, the doubt, and all of the unknowns. You may be going through things but guess what…you are going THROUGH! You are living with it, every day. You are a survivor! You should be proud.

I am learning to be more supportive of myself and how I am handling things. Look, I am aware that I am not where I want to be but I remember where I was and I am a long way from there. Do you remember where you were 5-10 years ago? Even if your head is filled with doubt, you have to be celebrating the fact that you are not there anymore.

Be proud of yourself and support for existence, first by realizing that there is no greatersupportyourself power than you allowing yourself to be flawed. We all make mistakes. We exercise our right to choose and we do not always make the best choice. Take inventory and move forward. Do not beat yourself up. Be confident in what you add to the people around you. Remember that confidence is about accepting the NOW you and striving to improve as you will.

Support yourself as you acknowledge your weaknesses and feed your strengths. Allow yourself to work on your weaknesses but do not give them more attention than you do your strengths. I used to do that and it was disheartening at times because I would sometimes forget what I was good at.

Even if right now you are being planted and it may be dark in your current situation, right now you are working to build something special so you may be behind the scenes. supportyourself4This is temporary because we always get back to adding to your highlight reel.

It does not matter what your current struggle is. Whether you are seeing a decline in your friendship connections, quit working out, been single for a while, or lost in your career, still continue to support you. You have not quit! You are still here and you are trying to find your way and your sense of self. That is something you should be proud of no matter where you are on your journey through this life.

 

 

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!!

My Top 5 Friendship Needs…

three women posing for photo

Photo by Adrienn on Pexels.com

Science says that without friends, most people will die an early death.

It’s true!

In order for us to live a long, happy life, we need each other. We need friends! What we don’t need is a bunch of fair-weathered associates. We need some well-rounded, diverse and supported people to create our circle of friends with. We need people who will be there through thick and thin; that we can share our ups and downs without fear of judgment or abandonment.

two women sitting on white bench

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels.com

These are the kind of friends I believe (and hope for in my life) balance out and keep us healthy…

  1. The Loyal Best Friend. We all need a non-judgemental friend that will still be bold enough to call us out on our BS when we need them to. One that will support us and keep our secrets. A loyal bestie is one that will know that we are a hot mess behind closed doors…know all of those deep, dark secrets and still love us thoroughly.
  2. The Brutally Honest Friend. We all need someone to have our back and be bold enough to tell us the old hard truth. He/She will let you know when it is time to stop that on again off again relationship once and for all. They will let you know that it is time to stop settling, that you have something in your nose, or maybe that you really should have looked at yourself before you came outside today. Friends are supposed to be honest with you. They are there to cheer you on and to yank those rose-colored glasses off of your eyes when need be. When you find this person, hold on to them! They are hard to come by.
  3. The Opposite. As humans, we are always looking to bond with like-minded folks. img_7363Always attempting to run in packs. I think that it challenges and grows us to have people in our lives that hold a different view than we do. When we are only associating with “our tribe”, we become detached from the rest of the world and create stereotypes about anyone outside of us. Let us open our eyes to different world views and learn to accept others. That may bring a little more peace into your world.
  4. A Friendly Neighbor. I am going to be honest with you and say that in the last neighborhood that I lived in, I did not know much of anything about the people I lived near. It is a shame because I am sure that my neighbors were probably very nice people, maybe. We are starting to vacation more and having a neighbor that we can trust would and can be life-saving. Nice neighbors that are dependable will have each other’s back and protect each other’s homes. I just recently moved and I know, at least the names for now, of all of the neighbors in my tiny little neighborhood. I actually cannot wait to learn more!
  5. people drinking liquor and talking on dining table close up photo

    Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

    The Wise One. If you have someone in your circle that is smart, encouraging, inspiring and admirable in your life, you are one lucky human! We all need a friend who inspires us to be a better person without making us feel like a child. If you are that person in your group, you may need to find another group or add someone to your group that does the same for you.

 

There are other friends that we need to make our world go around as well, but for me, these are the ones that will keep me growing and make my world crazy and beautiful all at the same time.

We also need an adventurous friend that will grab our hand and take us places and haveIMG_5537 us doing things that we never would have imagined. A funny friend to draw out our smiles when we feel like doing nothing but crying. A praying friend that doesn’t have to talk much but you know that they are praying you through your situations and celebrations. We need a work friend that can help us get through the crazy days.

Having more than one of any of these is a Blessing! I am working on revamping my friendship circle and I am loving how it feels.

 

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.