I call you friend…

When I was a little girl,my grandmother would always chastise me for using the word friend loosely.  I just loved everybody and naively thought that everybody felt the same way about me.When I went off to college; it was the first time that I had ever been a way from home. Even though it was only a forty-five minute drive away by car; but for me it felt like another country. Every weekend that I would journey back to my city of origin, I would be full of stories to share with my family about all of the interesting people who I had encountered.  Often  I would reference these individuals as friends. My grandmother would quickly correct me and say , No! you cannot call those people friends because you don’t know them that well, and they in turn do not know you.  Well, needless to say, I worked to refrain from using the word in Mothers presence. However, you know that when I returned to the campus, my  references reverted back. It was many years, and many heart-break before I truly understood, or got the lesson that my grandmother was trying to teach me.

A few weeks ago I visiting someone who I have known for many years, shared many experiences with and  weathered many storms. I over heard them giving this same advise to their eight year old.  It sounded like a stern message for a little girl to hear. However, now being all grown up, and having experienced relating and communicating with many people; I finally understand what my grandmother meant when she gave me this nugget of wisdom many years ago.

Friend, is not a word that you hand out like trick or treat candy. No, it is the good china that you bring out on special occasions for special guest. Until you have gone through some things with another human,  and until they have witnessed your secret trials and been privy to your pain and your private struggles; shared in your joy and sorrow, they are not truly worthy of being called friend.

A friend is the one who loves you even when you may not be lovable, or even likable for that matter, but they know it gets better than this, so they remain.  Friends let you cry your eyes out or they make you laugh until you cry. They don’t judge you, but they kick your butt when it is necessary, or they simply give you a hug, which ever is most appropriate at the time.  They are the ones who you talk to every day or you don’t talk to for days on end, but when you get back together the conversation simply picks up where you left off.

Friends are not perfect and sometimes they may even hurt you, but it’s never intentionally and they are always sorry.  Friends have your back and they support you sometimes even in the silliest of ideas. They remind you of who you were, tell you how great you are, and help you look forward to the person that you are going to be.

They share their lunch with you and their shoes. They beat up the bullies and protect you from the ones that cause you pain.  They cover you and hide your shame and sometimes even take the blame for things that clearly do not belong to them. Sometimes they will even let you drive their car and spend weeks at their houses. They sit with you in hospitals and graduations and funerals, and they hold your hand and say, “It’s going to be okay”. They dance with you, and party with you, and they don’t let you throw up alone when you’ve over done it. They will go to meetings with you, and go through steps with you, and sit in clinic waiting rooms. They will pray with you, and for you. They will bring you to church or bring the church to you.

Whatever it takes, that’s what friends will do.  They will love you through the good, the bad,and the ugly; unconditionally because that’s what friend do. So now I understand what mother meant many, many years ago.So in the words of my elementary school best friend as written in my middle school memory book; “There a big ship, and there’s a little ship, but there is no ship like friendship”.

This is for all of you who have earned that title beyond merit; I am proud to say, I call you friend.

My

 

 

 

 

Home…

I’ve been back on the east coast and I must admit that I’ve missed it so. There is something about these parts that are like no other. The people are different. The energy is different. The vibe and the rhythm is one that makes you want to move, and create and just …live! Even for a southern girl like me, there is something about this place that just grabs my heart. Wait a minute! I think that that’s it?  It’s captured my heart!

You know the saying that home is where the heart is? Well I concur. Home is where the heart is. Home is the place where your heart resides, and it may not necessarily be geographical or spacial. Sometimes it’s that place that you think about, and  it makes a smile comes to your face, and it just makes you feel good. It’s the place that reminds you of why you wake up and keep breathing everyday, and it may also be the place that takes your breath away.

Often it is not the city, state or area that perhaps you grew up in; at least not physically. Instead, it is the place that you “grew up” in. That place where you learned how to take care of yourself; sometimes because there was no one else there to do it for you . It’s the place where you fell in love, or maybe where love caught you when you least expected it. Maybe it’s the place where you found your first little modest apartment, but you fixed it up to be uniquely yours…

Now even though you may have more space, and better furniture and you live in a nicer neighborhood; still when you think about that place; it just feels like home. Home is the place where love lives. The place where when you show up again, whether it’s been a few hours or a few years, you are welcomed as though you’ve been a way  for far too long. But now that you’ve returned, everyone there is happy that finally, you are home.

Home is a beautiful thing! Even if you only get to be there for a little while. It refreshes you, and nurtures you. It gives you the boost you need to get going again. So you cherish it and hold every experience like it was delicate glass because you don’t want to damage even the memory.  It’s sacred.  Maybe it’s time for some of you to go home, come home, or find home.  It really is a beautiful thing.

So put on the ruby slippers of your heart. Call and book a flight. Catch a train or find the mega bus. Jump in your car and take a road trip!  Even if you can’t do any of those things at this present time; you can close your eyes and  journey like Dorothy did…now repeat after me; there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…

Welcome home! Enjoy.

My

 

 

 

Today…

I want you to do me a favor. In a moment, I want you to get up and go and find a calendar, a real one. One that is on the wall or in your purse or day planner. I would prefer it not to be on your iPhone or android because I want this to be ritualistic. This means I want you to physically do something.  I want you to get an ink pen…blue, black, purple, red whatever you fancy as long as it writes. I want you to circle today’s date. Go ahead, circle it and declare that today is the day.  Now here is where we are gonna switch it up a little bit because the next statement or declaration may be different for each one of you. Still make it; whatever it is.

Declare that today is the day that your life changes forever in whatever way and in what ever situation that you need it to.  Today is the day. Today is the day that I decide to stop living in the past. Today is the day  I won’t be afraid of the future. Today is the day that I find the courage to move out, move on, move forward or maybe it is even the day to go back and face whoever and whatever needs to be dealt with. Today is the day that I am sick and tired enough of being sick and tired, and I’m going to get my life back, or begin my life or take back my life from somebody who has mishandled it, and should never have had it in the first place. Today I’m getting my groove back and getting my body back. Today I’m getting my happy back! Today is the day that I will wake up my dreams and start the project. Today is the day that I will put the dream to bed and live presently in my reality. Today is the day that I stop pretending and start being who I really am; instead of who I think you want me to be. Today I am getting out of here! Today I am moving over there. Today I just don’t care. Today is the day I’ll say yes, or Today I’ll say No! or maybe, but I will say something. Today is the day I will listen. Today is the day I will hear. Today is the day I will get up, get out, get free or get hitched. Today is the day I will choose to be happy. Today is the day I will choose to be free. Today is the day I know that it’s gonna be okay and  I’m okay and I believe that today. Today I am, today I will, today I have. Today I forgive. Today I am healed, delivered, saved. Today I will live! Today!Today !Today! Not tomorrow, but today. Right here, right now, Today.

Declare it, say it, do it, believe it! That’s right say it out loud so you can agree with you and the universe can too. It’s time; you know it…so do it; just do it, yes… Today.

My

 

 

Friendship and Business; A blessing or a mess?

There are a few things that we have been taught since we were children that we shouldn’t mix.  However, we still think that somehow ours will be the exception to the rule right? Of course…well maybe, but more than likely not.

You see there is a real problem when we allow our personal relationships to get in the way of our professional sense. We all know better on all of the little mistakes that we make that cause us the great big problems that we seldom recover from. Our business or our relationships that is.

Unfortunately we put them both in jeopardy far too often trying to compromise and many times we simply do not recover. The worse thing is that we either lose a really good business venture or a really good friend and who wants to lose either of these I know I don’t.  Both are usually once in a lifetime  opportunities.

Anyway, if you must, here are a few things that I would like to suggest. 1)Don’t sugar coat your expectations. (say what you mean and mean what you say, please. 2) Set clear boundaries up front. (Remember the way you begin is the way that you will end so start off the right way  3) Communication is the key; Listen more than you speak (Ole folks wisdom: God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason! 4) Always remember that people are more important than property or money(humans may sometimes choose to forget what you say or do, but they will always remember the way you make them feel. Please always make one another feel that at the end of the day you are more valuable and important than any thing else. 5) Finally, if it doesn’t work out forgive quickly, and promise not to lose the things that caused you to come together in the first place; trust, confidence and respect for each other.

Okay so that’s my twelve cents! I hope you are blessed and there is no mess.

Co-Author…

I am a writer, author … and recently while working on a project with someone else, I felt the challenges of trying to merge my ideas with another’s.  Initially I was writing and I was on a roll strictly based on my own ideas. Then when I would meet up with the other person to share what I had written; in the beginning my ideas were a little bit different from what they had in mind. So this meant that I had to go back and rethink some of my ideas  I had to find a way to incorporate my ideas with this other person in order for both of us to be able to write the story and find a happy ending.

Here’s how I managed it…first of all I had to listen to them and not just listen, but I had to hear in order to be clear as to what they were really trying to say. I did this so I could express it in a way that we were both able to be clear. This took some give and take. I had to give in to some of my co-authors ideas, but I still got to put in my own two cents.

In life we are co-authors with the creator of the universe in this process that we call life. Sometimes he allows us to help him write along with him just like I did with my co- author. However, there are times when he does as I did in the beginning and he writes in his own vernacular without our input.  Sometimes we like what he writes and other times we push to have him change words and even entire paragraphs.  Well, I think that I am not the only one who has come to realize that more often than not this does not work with the co-author of life. You see, I was getting paid for co-authoring with this other person so this made me a little bit more apt to compromise. However, in this other partnership there is not the same kind of pay off. 

Don’t be discouraged though. There is still a way be a part of this script too. It’s called trusting  in the lead writer.  Yes, that’s right. Sometimes we must trust the maker even when we don’t know what he is doing or where he is going. My co-author had a hard time initially allowing me to do what I do, but then as the story began to form; I would see the smiles and nods of approval. Finally I knew they had come to trust my ability.  This is the way we must learn to be also. We have to trust the one who knows the end of our story at the beginning and all of the chapters in between.

Sometimes it may look like the stories over, but then there comes a twist and it’s like, Wow! I  didn’t see that coming. Then there will be other times when it feels like you’re just getting to the juicy part of the story and then bam! That chapter is done. Didn’t see that coming. That’s what a good story does though. It’s not predictable, but it does all come together in the end one way or another. Not always just the way we might have thought, expected or planned, but one thing you can count on is that if you have the right co-author; in the end all of it will eventually work together for your good! Really…

Hold on to see how the next chapters going to read okay! Your stories not over yet.

My

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can begin again!

Have you ever felt stuck in a place and you seemingly don’t have a clue as to how you got there?  All you know is that it feels like quicksand and it’s slowly pulling you in.  Maybe the divorce is finally final; the last child is graduating in a few weeks and going off to college, or all the kids are grown and gone.On the flip side you may be asking,  How in the world am I supposed to raise these children alone? The job that once challenged and intrigued you; just doesn’t get you going anymore or you’ve been caring for a loved one who recently transitioned leaving you all alone with nobody to take care of. The relationship you’ve been fully committed to for the past five years has come to a bitter end;the chemo ended yesterday or you woke up this morning and you’re the big 30,40, 50, 60…!!!  Ut Oh!   So now what?

What in the world are you going to do with the rest of your life; now that your priority is not being somebody’s mother or lover or caregiver… or you have changed titles and everything in the world now seems…different. You mean I’m going to have to be the one to pay my own bills now and do my own laundry?  How do I get used to not being Mrs. …or filling out widower on my paperwork. I showed up for twenty-five years to that job; I gave her the best twenty-one years of my life, and now she’s decided that she no longer wants to be my wife? Really?

I never planned on this! In fact, I did everything that I could to plan so my life would not turn out this way.  Guess what people? Life happens to all of us, and often it is quite the contrary to what any of us dreamed of, prayed for, thought about or even simply imagined. Sometimes, it just is what it is and you’ve got to just roll with the punches.  This means that you can’t  allow any of these life circumstances or situations to become a final “TKO” (Technical Knock Out) You just have to decide that you’re going to do a Sugar Ray, or a Cassius Clay, and fake it until you make it! If it means that you have to talk smack and dance around change and adversity until you can see your way clear to throw another winning punch; then people get in gear for your best weave and bob and dance on your feet until the next jab becomes available.

None of these things or anything else for that matter, means that your life is over. Oh no! It’s not over! Not over! Not over! Sometimes it is simply an abrupt suggestion that it is time to start all over again. Don’t look at it as an ending, but instead see it as another chapter unfolding. The best part about it all is that you are a co-author in the writing and you can decide what the next part of the story will look like.

A beloved mentor of mine; Queenie Youngblood, gave me a poem many years ago when I started out on y life’s journey and the title is “Don’t Quit”.   Take the time to read it ,but in the mean time, I ‘d like to share a simple line. “When care is pressing you down a bit; rest if you must, but don’t quit”.  Please my friends don’t quit, instead remember that you can begin again!

My

 

2016…Just a thought

I was driving along the highway today and thinking as I often do, when it came to me: What exactly is the big deal about a new year?  I mean, on December 31, 2015 we went to sleep like we always do and if you were blessed or lucky, which ever you choose to believe; you woke up on the top side of the soil one more time just as you did the day before. So, what’s the big deal about a new year? I mean really …it’s only a continuation of the 24  hours prior right?

So why do we get all bent out of shape about it? Why do we stress about it and try to spend at least the first few weeks trying so desperately to do it differently?  How about we just make a decision to 1) Be thankful for another day 2) Work to pick up where we left off and simply strive to make this one a little better (One day at a time. I mean that’s all we really have anyway)  and 3)Simply decide that the only thing that is really in need of becoming new are our attitudes, ideas, intentions and our actions.

I don’t know, it was just a thought, but it took some of the pressure off of me and gave me the liberty to just “be”.  Personally I tend to do better with this than all of the bogus resolutions and the fears of having to begin again. Maybe it might help some of you to see it this way too.

Just do the best you can, while you can, for as long as you can, and try each day to do it a little bit better than the day before and see what happens. Then by all means please give yourself credit for all of the days that you actually succeed at this and just forget about the rest because you can never get them back anyway, right?

I mean its up to you however you choose to look at it, and either way it’s really okay. But  actually Id like to look at it it as simply, to be continued…

Happy today! have a great one day at a time for the next 361.