Month: March 2018

Feeling Misunderstood? Some Reasons for Our Confusion

Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever had your words and actions misinterpreted? Have you ever set out with the best intentions only to have someone get upset with you and accuse you of being rude, disrespectful, or selfish? I know the answers to these questions are a resounding, “Yes!”

No matter how “good” we are as people, there will be times in our lives where people will get offended by something that we said because they understood it differently than what we meant it to be. You understand what I am saying?

But in those people’s defense, I know that we are also guilty of doing the same thing. We, too, have misunderstood what a person said or meant, gotten offended, upset, resentful because we felt disrespected, hurt, falsely accused by the words that they were saying. Sometimes we find out that they never meant it that way. Sometimes we never find out, and we run around upset with someone who never meant to hurt us. (more…)

Boss Lady Moves Interview #1: Sabrina Hayes – Pursuing Her Calling

Boss Lady Move – making a major change in your life in order to pursue your dreams, your passions, your goals and become your own boss

We all use social media for many different reasons whether it’s to keep up with good friends, reunite with old friends, to be nosy and spy on other people’s lives, or to just be “social.” However, social media has changed so much over the last few years and so have the reasons that people use it. It has gone from just a way to socialize to a way to interact with like-minded people, a way to learn something new, a way to connect with people around the world, and a way to grow your business.

This is how I met Boss Lady Sabrina Hayes. After becoming a consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, I quickly realized just how much I did NOT know about direct sales. And although my director, Nikki Lee, was extremely helpful, I knew that I could not solely rely on her to learn everything about how to run my business. As a matter of fact, it is because of Nikki Lee that I found out about these Facebook groups where I could interact with other Thirty-One sisters, learn and exchange ideas with them, and where we could congratulate and encourage one another. Then I stumbled upon a Sabrina Hayes’ video where she was sharing her ideas, and everything changed.

Sabrina was a Thirty-One leader and guru. Everyone wanted to be a part of the Facebook group that she helped to run, The Big Pink Playground. I, too, tried to suck in as much knowledge as possible and used a few of her ideas to help grow my business. But I could tell, as others could as well, that there was something different about Sabrina, something that made people want to just sit down and listen. That’s why when she announced to us through heartfelt tears that she was leaving Thirty-One, we were all in shock and very upset. Why would she leave something that she obviously was so skilled at doing? Why would she leave when she was at the top of her game and killing it? What would we do without her?

Well, the Sabrina-withdrawal was short-lived. Sabrina also announced that she was leaving Thirty-One because her heart was in ministry, and she could not ignore her calling from God. While we were devastated that she was leaving the company, most of us were happy that we would not completely lose the wisdom and insight that comes from listening to her. In addition, most of us were just downright in awe of her and her decision to make such a big move and to pursue her dream. Who leaves a career when they are at the top, seem to love it so much, and are loved and admired because of it?

Sabrina Hayes did. And she started this beautiful ministry called Sanctuary Girl and eventually became the owner/CEO of The Affirmation Shop. Here is some information from her website about Sanctuary Girl.

The mission of Sanctuary Girl is to minister to women through the weekend retreat experience in a way that brings them into the safety and security of truly resting in who they are in the eyes of God:

Strong | Loved | Powerful | Redeemed | Enough

Discovering God’s Word, His affirmations of us as women, the innate gifts that He has endowed upon us each individually, and enabling the fellowship of women from all over the country together to lift each other up and fill those empty places through the retreat experience, is the mission of Sanctuary Girl.

I’ve attended two of her retreats, and let me just say that they are life-changing! (Read here about one of my revelations that I got while there.) Once you go, you’ll never be the same. Her retreats have a way of connecting a group of women who are essentially strangers and giving them the opportunity to talk, pray, cry, reflect, and laugh. No one leaves a retreat the same way that they came. No one. This is why I had to interview her for this series because not only did she make a Boss Lady Move by abruptly leaving Thirty-One and starting Sanctuary Girl, she also created a positive brand which includes inspirational clothing, jewelry, home decor, and other accessories including one of my favorites, the Sanctuary Girl Faith Planner. I admire her for all that she has been able to accomplish over the past year as well as her willingness to step out on faith. She has been a huge factor in my quest to make my own Boss Lady Moves.

Enjoying the Santa Monica Pier on my second retreat

 

  • Who has been the biggest source(s) of inspiration for you? Jesus. I pattern everything I do and say after Him. He is the only one I desire to emulate. Hands down.
  •  What would you say is a Boss Lady Move? Just taking a leap. It’s about more than just getting stuff done. It’s being bold enough to even take that first scary step. That’s a boss.
  • What motivated you to make your Boss Lady Move? There was more to my life, my gifts, my purpose than what I was doing before, and in order to do that, in order to pursue that, I just had to jump. I am so happy that I did.
  • What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten? Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. That kicked me in the butt.
  • What three tips would you give to a woman wanting to make a Boss Lady Move? 
    • Gather your tribe. Surround yourself with women who are positive, believe in you, and won’t let you fail.
    • Put God first. Otherwise, you are relying on your own strength and by doing this, you will fail. You can’t do it without Him.
    • Have an open mind. Success doesn’t always look like you think it will. Be willing to learn and try new things.
  • Describe your typical “work” day. I always starts with quiet time. If my thoughts with God aren’t right first, then my day doesn’t go right. After that, I try to spend only one hour on each task in order to avoid the day becoming mundane. For example, I may spend one hour organizing my shop, one hour reading something informative, one hour doing outreach, and another hour on social media planning. It keeps my mind active instead of being focused on the same task for a long period of time which may cause me to grow bored.
  • What are your future business plans? I’m working on creating a Sanctuary Girl business planner tailored to CEO’s who have a strong faith focus for their business. I’m working on launching the 2019 Sanctuary Girl retreat schedule. I also have planned some exciting new twists for the Sanctuary Girl Faith Planner. Stay tuned.
  • What are your best resources when you look for information to help you with supporting your business? I like to tap into professional human resources, people who specialize in and are knowledgeable about things/topics that I don’t know about. I look to them to fill in the gap of things I need. Human resources are so necessary.
  • What do you do to “get away” from it all? Immerse myself in British dramas.  If I can’t go to the beach, I find some mid-century British shows or movies on Netflix to watch like a great Jane Austin movie. Once I find a good series or movie, I am done. I can spend all day watching.
  • What was one of your biggest mistakes and how did you overcome it? Taking on everything for myself; I am self-sufficient and have to have control. I’ve learned that you have to have a well-structured team and must be willing to delegate and let go. Otherwise, you will run yourself ragged. For example, I’ve come to the realization that I have to give up some control on the Sanctuary Girl Retreat details, planning everything and doing everything. I’ve got to let go and let others do. After getting advice from one of the women in my tribe, I am currently working on building a retreat team. Where do I need the most help? Which women can I place in charge of administrative details such as registration? Who would be good for  planning the kitchen and meal details? And if I find really trustworthy women, having them lead a session while I take a break. Taking this advice will make your life so much easier. You can’t do it all.
  • What is a piece of one-word advice you want to leave for the ladies, one word that needs no explanation but can serve to motivate or encourage other women, one word they can look at and act upon ? FEARLESS

My Theme Song for the Year (and why you should have one, too)

If you’re like me (and most people), there are certain songs that will get you out on the dance floor and make you jump around until you’re exhausted. Or you have songs that completely put you at ease, soothing your mind, bringing you some peace. Or you have songs that evoke certain memories, taking you back to a certain time in your life, good or bad, the memories forever ingrained in your mind. Some people have that one special song that just speaks to them whenever and wherever they hear it.

Either way, we can all agree that music is important to us in some way, shape, or form. We may use it to lift our spirits, take our mind off things, or just to get our energy up, making us dance until we can’t dance any more.

I love music because it can do all of these things. It can connect people who have nothing else in common, not even the same language. It can change the entire mood of your day; it can keep you company when no one else is around. It can make a mundane task seem interesting and the time fly by.

That’s why this year I have adopted a “Theme Song of the Year.” It’s my own personal motivational song to keep me going and relates directly to my goals and the way I am approaching this year in my life. If you didn’t know, I just turned 40 a few days ago, and I have big goals for my life. What better way to stay motivated than to have a song playing in the background (or in my mind) as I tackle each one of my goals?

My song for this year is Andra Day’s “Cheers to the Fall.” I already loved this song, but I loved it even more after I used it for a lesson in my class. Each Monday in my class is Mindset Monday where the students have to focus on ways to have a Growth Mindset. I thought this song was a perfect fit since my students often want to fit in with others and do what’s “popular.” They also have a tendency to give up on tasks that seem too hard and are afraid of failing or looking dumb for trying.

As we analyzed this song, I grew to love it more and more. It spoke to me on a deeper level because I could relate to it so well. The past couple of years I have been stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. I had already started my own photography business, Natural Soul Photography, a few years back, but I recently decided to really jump back in and work hard on making it successful.

In addition, I became a consultant with Thirty-One. I loved the products, so why not try to sell them? I also, after losing 13 pounds, decided to sell Herbalife products. Now, am I a top seller with either one of these businesses? Nope, but I am proud of the fact that I have tried, have worked hard on ways to learn more about direct sales, and have constantly looked at how to improve my marketing strategies and customer relationships. I NEVER would have thought that I would be the type to sell anything to anyone. I would have thought someone was crazy for even suggesting it.

 

 

Another major change was leaving one school that I had taught at for eleven years to go teach at a brand new school. I needed the change in pace, a shake up and a wake up. I had gotten comfortable (although I was miserable at times) because I had been there so long. Actually, complacent was a better word for it. I wasn’t stretching or challenging myself any more. I’m so happy that I made the move.

But the thing that I am most proud of myself for is this right here: my blog! It’s always been my dream to write and to get my messages out to the world, and my blog is the perfect outlet. I have grown so much over this past year since I started this blog. For too long, I only talked about doing this, putting off for tomorrow what I could have done today. Making excuses, waiting for the right time, not wanting to step out of my zone, be different, try something new.  Now, I am living my dream, and I see myself getting better and better every day. Each day brings a new challenge that I eagerly accept. Even after a long day at work, I still can find the energy to work on my blog whether it’s typing a post or learning something about the blogging industry.

While many people have cheered me on and told me how proud they are of all that I’ve been doing, many people think that I am downright crazy.They wonder why I do what I’m doing. Why are you trying to do so much? How many jobs are you going to try to have? What do you know about blogging? Do you have time to do all of that? Who do you think you are?

 

That’s where my theme song comes into play. Have you heard it before? I mean, have you really truly listened to the lyrics and understood what she is saying? Whenever I am having a frustrating day or when someone has made me upset, I know that I can turn on this song. When I am in the midst of some hard work, something challenging, something new, I know that if I turn to this song for encouragment, I will be pumped up and ready to work, ready to take on the world.

Once you check it out, you may just want to adopt it as your theme song, too.

Here are some of my favorite lines from the song.

They say the higher that you climb
The further when you take the dive
But it’s comatose
And I can’t live that closed
‘Cause I don’t know how to never try at all
So cheers to the fall, hey

When you’ve been wrapped in your cocoon for so long and finally break free (as I did), you can’t help but want to live life to the fullest (see my poem about it here). Anything less than that is a waste. Who wants to spend their entire life looking back, thinking about all of the things that they should’ve done, should’ve try? So what if I fall down? At least I can say, “Hey, I did that before!” I can still cheer myself on because of the fact that I at least gave it my best. I will have no regrets because I would have stepped out and given myself a chance even if I fail.

And who says you can’t win them all
If you try

Again, if I fail then at least I gave it a chance. But what, oh just what, if I do succeed? What if I do win? Living in fear (something I’m determined not to do any more) will only keep me stagnant missing out on all of the potential that I have within me to achieve greatness. Imagine how great my life would be if I could add up all of the wins knowing that I had put in the hard work and that I had made it happen! But I could never get to that place if I didn’t at least give it a try. And I have to believe in myself in spite of what others may have to say which takes us to the bridge of the song.

Thanks for all your sound advice
That I didn’t ask for
I’ll take all of it in stride

The bridge is equally awesome. When I sing along with the song, this part really hits close to home. Instead of listening to the naysayers and doubters who tell me that it will never work, I can push on and try. There are so many people who want to tell you how you should live your life because they have lived their life inside of a box, afraid to do anything that may make them uncomfortable. Therefore, they feel the need to advise you on why this won’t work for you or exactly how you should be playing it safe. But tell me: is that really living? Nope, so thanks, but no thanks for all of your wonderful advice, but I think I’ll stick with my plan. You know the one I’m talking about, right? The one where I take a big leap of faith and see where it will take me? Yes, that one.

I’ve said all this to say that I think that everyone should have a theme song for the year or the month or the decade or for their life, whatever works best for them. Have that song that you can blast really loud whenever you need some inspiration to get through the day. Find that song that speaks to you and that you’ll never get tired of listening to over and over again. Find that song that speaks the words that may be hard for you to say. Find that song that forces you to sing along at the top of your lungs because it expresses the very words of your soul.

Then hit play and repeat as many times as it takes to get you in the right mindset for the task ahead of you.

And rock on!

What would be your “Theme Song of the Year” and why? Comment below!

You Are Valuable, You Are Loved

In life we all want to feel like we are loved and appreciated by those around us. We want to know that we are valuable to those with whom we spend our time, for whom we spend and give our money, talents, skills, and resources. However, this is not always the case. Some days it feels like the very people that we pour the most energy into are the ones who least appreciate it, the ones who take us for granted the most.

Feeling unappreciated can lead to feelings of resentment and hopelessness. Why am I doing all that I do? What’s the point? No one cares. They don’t realize just how much I do for them!

I feel like women are especially vulnerable to these feelings of being used and unappreciated. Naturally we are nurturers, always looking out for everyone else’s needs, making sure everyone else is taken care of, comfortable, fed, happy, and content.

But in the meantime, as we pour out to others, we are often time left feeling empty with no thank yous coming our way, no we appreciate all that you’ve done. It’s almost as if everything we do is just expected of us. That’s our job, and we shouldn’t expect anyone to acknowledge all that we’ve done.

This “ungrateful” attitude may come from our spouses, our children, our coworkers, our bosses. I can speak on this because, I too, have felt these same feelings. Feeling like this can make you bitter and upset, even make you want to just stop doing what you’re doing. You may want to scream, cry, run away.

Again, I know because I have been there; I have felt that way. I’ve been hurt and discouraged by other’s lack of appreciation. I’ve stood back, resentful and upset, ready to speak my mind about how no one appreciates all that I do. Don’t you now how hard I work for you! 

But this past weekend, I had a revelation, an epiphany, a brand new understanding of how I should view this.

This new understanding is so good, so profound, that I knew I had to share it with others especially other women who right now may be feeling overwhelmed by all that they’re going through, all that they take care of every day.

Who may be frustrated by the lack of appreciation from those to whom they give the most.

Who may be looking for some reason to continue, to keep going, to push forward, to keep giving.

For all of you ladies, this is what I’ve learned.  (more…)

Weeks 6 -8 of My Journey to 40

  

Ha! Ha! Ha! The joke’s on me. The best laid intentions often don’t go as planned. I wanted to be able to stop each week and give you guys the rundown, a play by play, of what I had been doing, how I was progressing on this journey, what great things I had done. The first few weeks went as planned. Unfortunately, as it often goes, life got in the way of my plans, and there weren’t enough hours at the end of my days for all that I was hoping to accomplish.

But it’s okay! I have NO regrets about how everything went down because I did make progress; I did work towards my goals; I did laugh and smile and grow during these last few weeks, and that is what counts.

When all is said and done, I can’t believe it’s almost here. I am only 4,(Count it: 1, 2, 3, 4) days away from turning the big 4-0!!!

 

 

While things did not go exactly according to plan, I am happy with what I’ve accomplished over the past few weeks. This week’s post, however, will be a bit different than the last ones because these past three weeks have certainly been different! But, hey, that’s life! So here’s what took place in the last three weeks (or at least the condensed version).

  • Week 6

This week was disrupted by the horrific tragedy that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. A week that should have been focused on love for one another was overshadowed by a senseless, horrible, unforgettable, despicable act of violence. As a teacher who works only 15 miles from this school and a parent of a high school student, this event shook me to my core. It compelled me to write this post because I needed to get some things off my chest as well as process how I was feeling. (Please take some time to read it if you can.)

Out of all that happened, I have been overwhelmed by all of the love and compassion that has come about as a result of this tragedy. The outpouring of love from the community and the country has been amazing! I just wish that it didn’t take a tragedy for us to pull together like this (just got an idea for a future blog post).

I did end the week by working with my coworker, once again, on trying to get our side hustles off the ground. On Saturday, we gathered the kids and went out to the beach to advertise for an event she had planned the next day. That Sunday was the event (a painting party to benefit her and a couple of other nonprofits with my acting as the photographer) which did not turn out as well as we would like it to have. However, we learned valuable lessons along the way and are sure that we will do better next time.

Not to mention that all of us had a great time together and I got to try some new food! We took the kids to a quaint restaurant called, “What the Pho” where I got to try pho for the first time. It was the bomb, the service was the bomb, and we all had a great time! 

  • Week 7

It became official this week that I am going to be celebrating my birthday in a BIG way! Thanks to Hubby gifting me the money, I was able to pay to go to a Sanctuary Girl Retreat, and this week I bought the plane ticket to the retreat’s location: LOS ANGELES!!!! I cannot believe that in just two days, I will be going to L.A. to not only take part in a wonderful, life-changing retreat with my friend, Sabrina Hayes, but I will be spending my birthday there! All of it is overwhelming and exciting!!

I knew I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a big way, but this is even beyond what I thought I would be able to do. Over a little more than a year ago, I had the opportunity to attend a retreat with this beautiful lady, and my life was forever changed. Also, I met some amazing women with whom I still speak to on a regular basis.There is no doubt in my mind that this retreat will be even better! Look for a post all about the retreat, Sanctuary Girl, and my birthday weekend very soon!

My retreat from last year! So much fun! Love  these ladies!

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Hubby and I also took the boys to see Black Panther. The plot mesmerized me as well as all of the beautiful actors and outfits! I beamed with pride as I watched the movie and fantasized about what it would be like to be a part of that country, to be a part of Wakanda. The knowledge and pride they possessed and their genuine love for one another and their culture made me wish that I lived there, too. I found everything about it fascinating especially the lesson that we need to take care of one another and spread the knowledge and love to all of our people so that we all can rise together. Wakanda forever, baby!!!! Wakanda forever!!!!

  • Week 8

This week of my journey to 40 was all about reigning in the chaos that was quickly becoming my life and taking a deep breath, focusing a bit more on God, my family, my job, my house. I was so caught up with everything else, that I began to neglect some other areas. (Future blog post?) Well, not really neglect, but not give as much time as I normally do or being too busy to do what I really wanted to do in each of those areas.

I ended this week feeling much more relaxed and organized and ready to take on the world. I spent more time with my boys enjoying the great outdoors, cleaned some areas of my house that really needed it, started reading a new book, watched a couple of good movies, fell asleep earlier each night, was there for Hubby and his family during their time of mourning, and just took care of me. (I think it helps that I knew a three-day workweek and a vacation and my birthday were coming up.)

So now I am in Week 9 of my journey and so excited about what this weekend will bring. I am turning 40 and I am excited! I am not fearful at all. I only see myself as getting better, wiser, stronger, kinder, more giving and forgiving. I am becoming whom God created me to be! Gracefully growing into my destiny! Watch out world! I am going to take this next decade of my life by storm!

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