New Year, New You? NO! A BETTER You!

At the end of every year people look back at their progress for the year and looking ahead for the new person they plan to be when the clock strikes midnight. New Year means a new ME! Right?

nothowthisworksIt NEVER works that way.

We don’t wake up as NEW people. We wake up with a desire to be a BETTER person. If that’s true why do so many people proclaim to be a new person for a new year?

It’s easy to claim what is impossible. No one is going to hold you accountable if you didn’t transform into this new person. What’s the criteria for determining if you’ve transformed into the NEW YOU? Trying to morph into a brand new person in just 12 months is a pretty big feat and setting criteria to determine if you’ve gotten there is even more overwhelming.
What to do?
Start small. In this case size isn’t everything and starting small is the best way to lead toward long-term sustained change. Pick 3 to 5 things you’d like to do better or stop doing at all in the new year. Making that list is just the beginning because you’ll also need a plan to make the change. You can’t win if you  haven’t planned to!
For example, what if you want to cook breakfast more often at home instead of buying it out. Start out with a plan to cook breakfast at least 3 days a week. Over time increase the frequency and before you know it you’re fixing your own breakfast 5 out of the 7 days a week. This doesn’t mean it will be easy but it IS possible.
So here’s to a Happy New Year and to the start of a piece of a new you.

“Orange is the New Black” is BACK!!!

yesThe phone will be off. Curtains closed. I’m going back to prison…willingly!

Netflix has released season 3 of “Orange is the New Black” for my viewing pleasure. This is the moment that OITNB fans have been waiting for! The ability to watch the entire season and not have to sit through commercials and weeks of waiting are worth the months we’ve waited for the new season.

If you’re not familiar with OITNB take the opportunity to watch season 1, 2 and 3 consecutively and squeal with delight!

Tomorrow is Friday, I have a job and my TO DO is OITNB!

Just What We Need…MORE Distracted Drivers!

I commute almost 80 miles three times a week for work for over 15 years and in that time I’ve seen some amazing things behind the wheels in other cars. I’m convinced that most people don’t love their lives because their driving skills, or lack of, shows daily they choose to live IN the moment.Focus forever or in memory for ever

Between reading, makeup and texting, I don’t think drivers need anymore help to be distracted but leave it to inventors to create things that help scare the shit out of the rest of us. Augmented reality allowing drivers to see through their vehicles. Why is this necessary? They barely see what’s happening inside their own vehicle so how does seeing through that vehicle help anyone? Some manufacturers have heads-up displays that allow you to text, talk on the phone and get on social media while driving. People are already doing this without this device and having detrimental effects why make it easier to die?

When these devices hit the market beware on the temptation to make life easier because it could result in a shorter life span.

 

Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids This Summer!

summer-fun-listThe end of the school year fast approaching and with the weather improving day by day, it won’t be long before the kids are expecting some REAL fun. Having fun every day comes at a cost but the good thing is there are so many options out there that have zero cost but are full of fun.

1. The local zoo.

I have the advantage of living in the DMV where the National Zoo is located. Entry is absolutely FREE! That entry allows you to see various animals including awesome activities like watching the elephants feed, lions enjoy lunch, animal training and keeper talks. If you’re unsure of a free zoo in your area just perform a Google search to locate one close to you.

2. The beach.

One of the best things about summer is you can visit the beach as much as you want! The beach can provide hours of fun in the sun and water and by the time the kids are done they are so exhausted they will be sleep before you get home. One of my favorite beaches to visit is Virginia Beach. So beautiful and the local shops are adorable and there is great entertainment as well. Pack up the car and go!

3. The park.

Every city and state has parks that are operated by the local government and have more than your standard playground. One of our local playgrounds also has a carousel, fishing, mini-golf, and huge fields for football, baseball, soccer and more. If you’re not sure where to find good parks in your area check your local parks and recreation website for listings.

4. Local farms.

A visit to a local farm gives kids an opportunity to interact with farm animals and see how food is grown. Many farms include other activities such as hayrides, animal feedings and educational opportunities about farm life. Checkout this great example of a local farm. Do a Google search to find local free farms in your area.

5. Make it a learning day and visit a museum.

Another one of the great benefits of living in the DMV is the large amount of free museums. Museums are a great way to provide an interactive learning environment that only requires plenty of water and great walking shoes. Many museums also include interactive demonstrations such as feeding spiders or hologram-themed demonstrations. If you’re not sure where to find local free museums trust Google to lead the way!

Whatever activity you choose remember it doesn’t have to cost a thing to have FUN!

The Duggar Crisis – The hypocrisy of perfection

Duggars

Duggars – People.com

Per·fec·tion (pərˈfekSH(ə)n/)
noun: perfection
  1. the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.

Not too many people would describe themselves as perfect. Well except for Human Barbie but she’s cray. Perfection is a insanely high standard to attain and pretty much impossible to maintain. Only politicians and fools make claims or infer the air of perfection so when they fall they fall HARD.

The internet and news has been a buzz about the sexual assault claims against Josh Duggar. In his adolescent years Josh was accused of touching young girls and some of those girls were his own sisters! This would be a shocking statement no matter who was involved but the fact that it involved some Duggars made it news. Why?

The Duggars are known for a different lifestyle of which includes having 19 Kids and Counting. I have no interest in having a tribe but I did watch a few episodes of the show and on the surface it would appear they have a perfect life. As you continue to watch you see that the perception of perfection has a cost. If you’re always pretending to be perfect doesn’t it become more difficult to show your imperfections?

After this family secret was revealed TLC decided to pull 19 Kids and Counting from their lineup after pressure from social media and advertisers. Unlike most I think the Duggars should actually stay on television because we’ll finally get to see some REALITY!

Supporters of the Duggars will say NOW is the time for the cameras to go away, but isn’t this the RIGHT time to see the Duggars faith in action? Instead TLC caved to the pressure from people when the people should think a little more on this one. Watching the Duggars have the conversation regarding these sexual assaults is a real teachable moment. Instead the conversation may never happen at all considering its reported it never really happened before.

TLC this needs to happen. Bring back the Duggars!

Lessons from a Mother

Mother. Mom. Ma. Mum.

Whatever you call her she was the first important woman in your life. Actually she was THE most important person in your life from the very moment you became to exist. She’s seen you at your worst and at your best. No matter the circumstance she’s always THERE.

My mom taught me a lot of valuable lessons both directly and indirectly but I certainly wouldn’t have accomplished as much as I have in life if not for those lessons. The best lessons were those that have continued to stick with me today.

1. Trust yourself first.

Always trust yourself first even if you trust yourself to make the wrong decision. Sometimes we make decisions that lead to great things and other times we make decisions that lead to trouble. Know the difference and be prepared to trust yourself to not make dumb decisions by acknowledging your weaknesses and getting the necessary guidance to avoid being stupid.

2. It’s not enough to be good you MUST be great.

Good is average and being average doesn’t make you great. No matter your occupation be GREAT at it. Why settle for average when you can create a narrative of your greatness that is much better than the alternative? Once you set the bar high it becomes a fight against yourself because average will no longer be good enough for you and you’ll never settle for anything less than great.

3. Fearless people accomplish things.

My mom is a fearless individual and even when she does fear something she uses it as fuel to push through. Working through fear is still a process for me but I step out more on fear than I used to and the goal is to be as fearless than my mom. Fearless people get things done and push through the challenges to reach their goals.

Remember all of the lessons learned and sacrifices given for you on today. Show appreciation in that special way that only a child can do for their mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day!

The OTHER Side of Greatness

Greatness

There are a select group of people in the world that work really hard at something that is a driving force for them. Painstakingly working hard at it so much they make huge sacrifices that many around them don’t understand at the time. That level of dedication usually results in a great skill or talent that sets that person apart from the rest of the pack. Does that component of greatness define the whole person?

When someone is considered great others begin to change their thinking and begin to see the greatness and separate the person from their greatness. If the greatness is apart of that person, is it necessary to separate the greatness from the person or are you required to factor in both? All of us struggle with this everyday and more when it’s someone we hold in high regard because we begin to protect the greatness irregardless of the person.

For example, Bill Cosby has spent over year dodging accusations of sexual misconduct like Neo dodging agents but it hasn’t seemed to affect the perception by many of his fans. Cosby was regarded as THE example of the ‘good guy’ but some women watch all beverages in the presence of Bill Cosby. Damn shame but it hasn’t stopped Cosby from working. This means in spite of these accusations people are still buying tickets to laugh with Cosby. Right? Wrong?

Accusations aren’t proven events so maybe its fair to separate the greatness from the person but what about when the accusation is proven true? Former President Bill Clinton is the definition of a Tale of Two Dudes. The people who love him rarely, if ever, bring up Blow Gate and those who hate him bring it up each time they speak his name. A blowjob shouldn’t define his entire political career but when defining Bill Clinton does the issue of Blow Gate get an honorable mention?

This same conflict was felt by many Mayweather fans. A boxing great with a history of violence against women starts to separate the fans into two categories: those who don’t care about his personal life and those who can’t ignore it. Should all of the hard work and sacrifices be diminished by character defects? If not, is there a character defect that cannot be ignored?

Ultimately how we define someone that we consider great is a personal decision in which we have to decide when the personal life of someone has more weight than the quality we admire. It’s not an easy choice to make because it requires one to examine their morals and preferences. When your preferences don’t align with your morals its a struggle that will probably never have a definitive answer everyone would accept.

The ignorance of riots…where does the REAL change happen?

A few weeks ago on a street in Baltimore Freddie Gray had an interaction with the local police department that resulted in his spine almost being separated from his head. A mystery. At least to the Baltimore police department. But those that have been critical of extreme policing in certain communities, felt that the Gray injury, of which resulted in his death, was no accident.

The response from the local leadership was pretty lame. The mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, hasn’t been the textbook example of leadership in this situation. The media interviews and press conferences to the public were an attempt to explain away the mystery by trying to pacify the people with the chant of patience while offering no real details. The people waited.

And waited. And waited some more. Then things changed.

Today some of the people of Baltimore decided they weren’t going to wait any longer for answers and instead were going to force their voices on the city through their actions. Peaceful protests were held demanding answers but the citizens demand for answers were ignored and when people are ignored and full of emotion, its harder to keep positivity in the space.

Today the demands for answers turned to riots. RIOTS! How does a riot help you get answers? Instead of getting real answers you’ll get rubber bullets and a curfew. In the end NOTHING is resolved.

How far do you think Martin Luther King Jr. would have gotten tearing up his own community? Or ANY community? I hate to say it but REAL change happens when you can look your enemy in the face and no matter what they do to you, it does NOT break your spirit nor distract you from the goal. When the goal is ALWAYS the focus its much more likely to be reached.

Remember, while you’re burning cars and looting stores, the people that will need to hear your message will be too busy crafting lies to pacify you later! Keep MLK’s dream alive…change!

When Is It Okay to Beg?

handsoutI go to a store and before I can make it into the store from time to time I’m being asked for money. Not from the store employees or even the government (the government loves to ask for your money) but from a person begging for money. Technically before I enter the store I’m already charged a ‘help me’ tax.

Before you start to think, ‘Oh she’s one of those people who doesn’t help others!’ it’s just not THAT simple. The people that beg me for money aren’t what I consider less fortunate, well, except if you consider less fortunate having on the Jordan’s that came out a few months ago instead of pair of the Jordan’s that came out last week, these are pretty sharp beggars. So sharp it started to change the way I looked at helping someone in need because now I started to wonder a little harder what is NEED?

helpA need for many is A meal, A place to sleep, SOME clothes to stay warm, etc. For others a need may be the latest iPhone, hottest shoes, and the trendiest clothes, etc. Who am I to determine what need is valid and what need isn’t? Well when my money is involved I’m the judge AND jury and not for the reasons you think.

Some have turned begging into a business. They aren’t destitute nor down and out but instead have found a way to make a living asking other people for the money that they have earned. I’m not making assumptions I’m basing this on what I see every day.

For example, there is a local guy in my neighborhood that starts his day at the 7-Eleven, then to Dunkin Donuts, moves over to Giant and finishes the day at CVS or Rite Aid (he’s not really loyal when it comes to drug stores). He even has the balls to get mad if you don’t give him money when he asks. Dude you are NOT a line item in a my budget!

Not-For-YouOnce I comb my way through that dude its on to the youth that have learned hustling for their basketball, football or cheering team. They only ask for nominal donations to help with uniforms or other expenses associated with their club/sport and for the most part if I see them I give. BUT I’ve yet to be invited to game or even a practice. At this point I will attend the tryouts I just want to see where my money is going and how it might have helped someone reach a goal. Where is my money?

Giving can be exhausting but as citizens we have a duty to help those in need BUT we also have the right to decide whose needs we choose to meet. Whether you give or don’t give is completely up to you but I know one thing to be true. The feeling you get when you pay it forward can never be duplicated holding on to a pocket full of money.