Shout out to the guy friend

procrastination

 

So I created this awesome and heartfelt post months ago but procrastinated actually posting during the month of February as intended.  Upon reflection – I realized that it was still relevant and decided to post it today rather than wait a year.  Enjoy….and bear with me as I work through my issues 😉

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In the spirit of the month* in which we widely celebrate (…..and commercialize…..we can keep it real) expressions of love, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the guy friend.

He is often that unsung hero – the guy in your life who may be nothing more than a friend, but who remains that consistent and reliable male presence that you can count on to assist with tasks requiring height, upper body strength, or knowledge on subjects like how to drive a manual transmission (…& who knows how to drive in stop-and-go traffic without stalling now? This chick!).

The trusty compadre who freely provides friendship without any of the weirdness that can emerge from any male-female interaction. To whom you can turn to for advice, insight, bathroom humor, or a buddy for that late night run to Walmart. And who isn’t ashamed to text you Donald Glover gifs because he knows that the two of you share a Black & nerdy kinship.

happy-troy

The one who looks out for you and at times can be slightly protective, and not because he views you as the weaker sex but because he genuinely wants to make sure that you’re ok. The friend who wants you to meet a nice guy someday with whom you are compatible, while also offering constructive critique on your *ahem* control issues and stubborn ways. The guy who, after viewing Iyanla Vanzant’s ‘Fix My Life’ you have been inspired to start referring to as your ‘Beloved Man Friend’, and whom you wouldn’t trade for all of the outrageously delicious dark chocolate almonds that this world has to offer!

In all seriousness, I have been blessed to have some amazing guy friends in my life – all of whom have modeled for me what a true man is. I love all of you and so thank you for the friendship that you have gifted to me. Donald Glover and I salute thee 🙂

*It would have been awesome if I had posted this on Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t want to let another year go by without showing my homies some love while I work through my procrastination issues…. Not only that, but this week is the celebration of the born day of one of my amazing guy friends!  Thank you so much for being you – you are the real MVP 😉

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41 is the new 30 ;)

I was recently notified that I had posted my 40th blog posting on this site since its inception in 2012.  Wow – for someone with a relatively short attention span about some most things, I realized this was cause to celebrate *starts to shmoney dance in 5..4..3..2…)!

shmoney dance

 

😉  Now, officially my 40th blog post was a reblog of the important events that were taking place in Ferguson, MO.  Today’s post is technically my 41st post, and while 41 is a prime number that is not given as much recognition as 40 – there is no less cause to celebrate.  As I sat down to write, the phrase ’40 is the new 30′ kept repeating in my head.  Generally phrases like that hold no meaning for me, but the more I thought about it the more parallels I saw between the underlying meaning of that phrase and the direction in which I see this blog taking.  To me, ’40 is the new 30′ represents the youthfulness and vitality that is now being associated with the age of 40.  As someone who will be turning 40 in 9 short years, I can definitely relate as I’ve come to an increased understanding and comfort level with who I am as I age – which is reflected in how I see the world and interact with those around me.  I also want to see a similar transition manifest in this blog space, where as it ages it becomes more authentic and impactful.  So yeah, I definitely look forward to getting my Nia Long/Gabrielle Union/Sanaa Lathan/insert-names-of-other-women-who-epitomize-preserving-the-sexy-here on as I age, and hope that change takes hold not only in my personal life, but in the way I blog, in my pursuit of passions & goals, in how I interact with others, and in the way I engage the world around me.  That motivation is worthy of celebration indeed!

Own Your Power

I had an absolutely amazing weekend, one that was absolutely full of love as I was able to reconnect with great friends prior to embarking on a major life change (more to come!).  During that time I was also introduced to this phenomenal woman and loved her ‘Take the Lead’ talk so much that I had to share.  This woman is a legit BEAST – and I admire how she manages to not lose her individuality within her professional identity.  I hope that you enjoy and feel empowered on this Monday morning!

Audacious much?

audacious-definition-tee_design

(click pic for source)

 

The nerve….  I’ve developed several of those in 2014.  Not in the physiological sense, but more so in the realm of enhanced confidence.  Growing up I had my battle with confidence, and my being skinny and donning both glasses and braces for most of my early years did not help matters.  But at some point in my late teen/early twenty-dom…confidence developed in such a way that I’ve been able to navigate through life mostly unscathed and in a manner in which I’m comfortable.  But recently things have changed, and I don’t know whether this change should be attributed to the new year or my turning the big 3-0.  Independent of the cause, there has been an increased drive in me to unapologetically pursue every dream and passion that God has placed in my heart.  Like….it’s so not a game.  To place this into context, I’ve traded my more luxurious car for a stick-shift beater that I taught myself to drive in a little over a week and have since moved into a home I’m renovating that’s maybe a step above being a former crack house* because both decisions will further propel me towards my endgame.  Needless to say, both decisions I consider to be sacrifices, and have garnered a bit of negative attention and critique from those closest to me.  Honestly, I completely understand their concerns…I do.  But fear of the unknowns and ‘what ifs’ are minimal in my perspective relative to the tremendous gains to be made.

Fear & Self Doubt: sweet brown

 

I’ve been reading a book recently entitled ‘Sun Stand Still’, and a line in the book really stood out to me.  The author wrote: ‘Time can talk you out of your dreams.  Routine can weaken your propensity towards audacity’.  I reflected upon those two sentences and realized that if I wasn’t careful, it would be easy for me to drift towards a life of mediocrity and predictability rather than one that was passion-filled and required an immense amount of faith through which to navigate.  That and I was finding myself becoming increasingly bored and unmotivated with where things were in my life.  I quickly assessed my situation and realized there were things within my power that I could change……but then I realized that those decisions might require some discomfort on my part.  And on top of that, what might people think?  Thankfully those doubtful thoughts lacked staying power, and I was able to move forward with a renewed albeit somewhat out there plan, and I can say that I’ve been enjoying the process.  It’s a little bit scary, yes.  But also incredibly exciting  and encouraging knowing that I’m being further propelled towards my purpose, and doing so in a way that requires that I have faith in a power greater than myself.  This process has also shown me that I’m a pretty audacious chick-a-dee!  That word has stuck with me, and will reflect my theme for the remainder of the year.  I plan to have an amazingly audacious year, one that is extremely bold and fearless, and will be using this blog to document my experiences (the ups and the downs) with completing projects and my ultimate pursuit of passion and purpose.  Who’s with me?

*more elaboration to come, stay tuned 😉

Inspired – Different Christmas Traditions

love candy canes

It’s Christmas Eve – the day before the big day!  I’m finishing up some last minute shopping before hitting the road to visit my fam, (majorly procrastinated this year!), how about you?  Hopefully you did the  complete opposite and completed all of your tasks super early and are now able to chill-ax (i.e., chill + relax).  I’ll get there one day….actually, scratch that – I look forward to not having to get there one day.  And by that, I mean that I really want to institute some different Christmas traditions among my close friends and fam, ones that deviate from the consumerism normally associated with this time of the year and instead focus on what Christmas really is about.  Honestly, I have everything I need….and a lot of what I want – and would be completely fine with not receiving gifts, and instead having that money (& shopping time) allocated elsewhere.  Now I’m not sure how on board other’s would be about my seemingly radical ideas – but here are some that I would like to see done, collectively, one year:

  • Kiva – If you’ve never heard of Kiva before, consider yourself informed 🙂  This organization is the world’s first online lending platform connecting online lenders to entrepreneurs around the globe, to help fund business ventures and alleviate poverty.  You can select the borrower of your choice and lend as little as $25 towards their efforts.  It’s an easy and impactful way to spend Christmas funds, and you will receive your initial loan back to re-lend to another borrower, to donate to Kiva for operating costs, or you can withdraw via Paypal.
  • Adopt a family – There are formal as well as informal ways to accomplish this category.  Formally, there are organizations in place that will connect you to families in need, like the Salvation Army’s ‘Adopt a Family’ Program.  Some churches also have a formalized process for giving to families.  Informally, you could also organize a more personal approach to give to a family that you know – in the form of paying a needed bill or buying Christmas toys for children.  If this is the desired method, having a clear means of communicating with the family about their needs and reaching an agreement about the need that will be met is a good starting point.
  • VolunteerDosomething.org is an excellent resource for volunteer opportunities, from serving in a soup kitchen, to helping out in an animal shelter, picking up trash, etc.  Wherever your interest lies, you might be able to find a volunteer opportunity that fits.  But if not, you could always create your own volunteer experience by connecting personally with an organization that fits your interest.
  • Random acts of Kindness – Ok, technically, this category should extend to the entire year and not just during the Christmas season.  But random acts of kindness are just that – doing something kind for someone else.  Are you like G. Garvin in the kitchen (the crush I had on that man……or maybe the crush stemmed from the fact that he simply could cook….and if I were with him, I wouldn’t have to….WINNING!)?  If so, whip up that dish and give it to someone you know who would like it – just because.  Standing behind someone in the check-out line who seems stressed over a bill amount that you know you could afford?  Offer to pay for their purchases!  I witnessed this very act this week, and to call it beautiful would be an understatement 🙂  Now random acts don’t have to be uber-expensive either.  They could be as simple as holding the door open for others longer than what would be considered normal, returning your cart after shopping to the inside of the store *gasp*, or saying ‘Hi!’ with a genuine smile to everyone that you come across on a given day….something I would’ve considered (more) weird before moving to the south.  Actually, out of all the things my sister and I have done for my mom for her birthday, the one that she reminds us of the most was also one of the simplest – the year we snuck home when she and my dad were out of town and cleaned the entire house.  So yeah, simple random acts of kindness and consideration can go a long way and majorly brighten someone’s day!

I’m looking forward to stepping up or starting to act on these areas for next year!  However you’re spending your Christmas, I hope that you are continually reminded that you are loved 🙂  Have a fabu Christmas Eve.

Monday Morning Motivation: Appreciate the Little Things

Good Morning & Happy Monday!  I hope that you all had an amazing weekend, mine was pretty good – though I’m still processing the events that took place on Friday.  Tragedies such as the one that occurred in Connecticut have a tendency to stick with me, but rather than trying to understand the “why” behind the events, I tend to focus in on the importance of life itself.  It’s easy for me to get on “auto-pilot” with my life, as there is a lot that I would like to accomplish.  And while I don’t see anything wrong with having ambitions, I do think it is equally as important to appreciate the small pleasures that occur, sometimes outside of our awareness, every single day.  Yeah it can seem frustrating to not be exactly where you want to be, or to have to go about the hustle and bustle of the day.  But in spite of life’s frustrations, there’s always something that happens, some bright spot throughout the day, that is worthy of appreciation.  For me, it’s finding a great parking spot, or seeing that my dog didn’t poop on the floor before I’ve had a chance to take her out in the morning, or hearing Michael McDonald’s ‘I Keep Forgetting’ as the first song on my Pandora station (I love that song!) – a friend of mine says that God is winking at me when moments like these occur.  Bottom line, we all have things to be appreciative of, and no matter how sucky life may seem for you now, find some semblance of good and allow that to motivate you beyond the bad.  And enjoy every moment of this precious life that we’ve all been given 🙂  Have a ridiculously amazing day and rest of the week!

Inspired – The Uniform Project

Happy Monday Everybody!

I love hearing stories of people who are truly selfless in the sense that they are motivated to make a difference in the life of someone else, and who are ballsy enough to believe that they can make a difference as evidenced by their taking action.  Such is the case when it comes to Sheen Matheiken of the Uniform Project, who was inspired to challenge herself to an exercise in sustainable fashion (which is very much in line with my minimalist desires) and successfully raised thousands of dollars to educate underprivileged children in India in the process.  Stories like Matheiken seriously begs the question: “What ideas do you have that could make a tremendous difference in someone’s life…..including your own?”  I have an idea that I’ve been mulling over that I hope to launch next year, and will continue to highlight stories of people who inspire & motivate me and hope that you too receive inspiration.  Have a fabu Monday & rest of the week!