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Nothing Will Change in 2017!

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If you’re like me, you probably still have the same list of things you’re hoping will change in 2017. You still want to lose 20 lbs., the same 20 lbs. you’ve been saying you’re going to lose probably for the last 20 years. You still want to write that book before someone steals your idea. You still want to start that business that God’s placed on your heart to start. Well, I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but nothing’s going to change in 2017 unless YOU change. Change doesn’t magically occur because the clock strikes 12 and the calendar starts over. Change is a mind thing, not a beginning of the year thing.

The reason we find ourselves making these same promises of change over and over is because mentally we aren’t ready to change. It sounds good. We know it’ll feel good, but the mind hasn’t accepted that new resolution yet. Change is something that takes time. It’s a day by day process. It takes determination and consistency to change something you’ve been doing, or not doing, for years. When it comes to change, it’s important to:

1. Change one thing at a time. Don’t take on too much or you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and eventually giving up altogether, well until Dec. 31 and then you’ll make the decision to try once again.

2.Celebrate the small victories. If you go to the gym and only walk for 10 minutes, that’s worth celebrating.

3.Set small goals. If you want to lose 20 lbs., don’t think about the whole 20. Set a weekly goal between 1-2 lbs. Doesn’t losing 1 lb. sound more doable than 20? Sure does to me.

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4.Get an accountability partner. You may be amazed how many people are seeking to make the same changes as you. I was on the phone with one of my writer sisters and she was naming everything she wanted to change this upcoming year and her list was identical to mine.

5.Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you know your lifestyle won’t allow you to write 1,000 words a day, then don’t set that as your goal. Be realistic.

6.Track your progress. Keep a daily log or checklist of everything you’ve accomplished or didn’t accomplish that day. Seeing those checks or happy faces, whatever you use, does something for you. Hey, who says stickers are just for children? We like them too 🙂

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7.Make it fun! Maybe going to the gym isn’t the right workout plan for you. What about dancing? Sports? No one says that the gym is the only place to lose weight. Try new healthy recipes. If you love cooking, then this should be fun for you. Don’t look at it as a chore, but as  fun life-change.

8.LIVE! Don’t forget to live and enjoy life. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you mess up, that’s fine just start over tomorrow. Look at tomorrow as your New Year. A fresh start. A do over.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! It’s my prayer that you and I will have different goals for 2018 because we will rock these 2017 goals :)!

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Advice to My Younger Self!

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If I could write to my younger self, there’s a lot of advice I’d give, but for the sake of this blog and your time, I’ll keep it short… well kinda short :).

Advice #1: Listen to your parents. They really do know what they’re talking about. Money really doesn’t grow on trees. Checks and credit cards aren’t free money, and that amount you saw on your mom’s check stub really isn’t as much as you were thinking.

Advice #2: Enjoy childhood for as long as possible. It’s not that bad things aren’t happening around you, but it’s considered “grown folks business,” and your parent’s never discussed it in your presence. You have no idea how beneficial that is, but believe me, you should appreciate the “leave the room when I’m speaking with an adult” rule.

Advice #3: Making your own decisions and taking care of yourself isn’t as fun as you perceive it to be. I know you think your parents are old-fashioned and treat you like a baby, which by the way you really are, but trust me you’ll want to stay there and be their baby for as long as you can.

Advice #4: Stop waiting to the last minute to work on school projects or to start studying for a test. You can do a lot better if you apply yourself more. Those bad habits will follow you into adulthood, and you’ll spend most of your life trying to change. Do it now!

Advice #5: Stop pouting when your mom says you have to go to your grandmother’s house. One day you’ll wish you could go there again.

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Advice #6: When your mom comes in your room to watch The Young and The Restless tonight, cherish that time. Stare at her a little longer. Hold her a little tighter. Inhale her scent a little deeper.

Advice #7: Trust that there’s someone out there for you. There are going to be days when you’re much older, that you’ll start to question that. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. You’re #1 and if the guy clearly shows you that you’re not, run away and don’t look back. The one God has for you makes you feel special from the start. He’ll never give you a reason to question your role in his life. He’s the one!

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Advice #8: I know your brother works on your nerves and you think he’s the meanest person ever, but one day you’ll see him differently. He’ll become someone you not only love, but really like. You’re going to admire him more than anyone in the world. And the best part is, your parents would be proud of him too. I know that’s hard to believe being that he’s probably tormenting you as you read this, but just take my word for it 🙂

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Advice #9: Be comfortable being you. There’s going to be this thing called social media. Everyone’s life is going to look amazing on there. Just like yours, their life isn’t perfect either. Appreciate the life God’s given you, pain and all.

Advice #10: The most important advice I can share, so please listen carefully and write this down so you don’t forget. On July 2, 2015, when your dad calls….ANSWER THE PHONE! Trust me on this one.

P.S!!! One day you’re going to have a daughter who acts just like you, but don’t ever admit that to your husband. It’s your job to make him think she gets it from his side of the family LOL!

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P.S.S. I know you’re not the kissy-kissy type, but get ready because you’ll have a son who’s going to shower you with kisses each and every day. Even when he’s upset with you, he’s going to kiss you because according to him, your kisses make everything better 🙂

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What advice would you give your younger self?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2016! Need I Say More?

2016 has literally left my mouth opened. I don’t even know what to say other than #Really2016. Below are my Five Most Shocking Moments of 2016!

#5. No more G.O.A.T! The death of Muhammad Ali was a shocker. We all knew he’d been sick for quite some time, but still, we didn’t see death. At least I didn’t.

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#4. The Purple Prince! Prince’s death felt like a really bad joke. It took some time to realize it was real. He was actually gone. That’s the same feeling I felt at the loss of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. Some people you just don’t think will ever die, not for a very long time anyway.

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#3. The Washington Parish flood. That one was very hurtful because my dad and stepmom’s house was destroyed. Losing my dad was bad enough, but then we had the task of throwing away all of his belongings. That wasn’t a good feeling at all.

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#2. The Great Flood of 2016. That one still has me feeling a certain kind of way. Though my house wasn’t affected, it’s hard to see so many neighbors, friends, and family going through. The weight of  knowing so many people are still out of their homes, four months later, is very heavy.

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#1. The Presidential Election. That’s all the time I’ll spend on that one because of health reasons 🙂

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Though there were some really bad events in 2016,  I must say there were also some really good things. Here are the Three Best Moments of 2016!

 

#3. The Cubs won the World Series after 71 years. That was awesome! I can only imagine how great that felt for the players and their fans. It showed what can happen if you just keep pushing. Hopefully our breakthrough won’t take 71 years, but hey push anyway 🙂

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#2. I published my 3rd novel. I’d worked on this book for so long and finally it’s complete and on sale. (www.amazon.com) wink! wink!

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#1. VEGAS BABY! I finally did something for me on my special day. My husband, cousin-sister Sheneda, and her husband Anthony, and I all flew to Vegas to celebrate my 39th birthday. I always said I wanted to do a couples trip, but never did it. Now I’m ready for the next one 🙂

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What did I miss? There were so many I couldn’t keep up. What were your most shocking 2016 moments? Post on FB or Twitter with the hashtag #Really2016. Don’t forget to tag me.

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Back Down Memory Lane

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With Christmas right around the corner, I can’t help but remember the Christmas of yesteryears. Christmas was, is, and prayerfully always will be my favorite holiday. I love the sights, sounds, and feel of it. It’s amazing how certain events can stick with you, and almost make you feel like you just experienced it a day or so before. Well, for me it’s Christmas as a youngster.

I remember the days leading up to Christmas I’d go shopping with my mom. Back then Columbia Street in Bogalusa was a big deal, and Fred’s was the major store. I used to love driving down Columbia Street with all the Christmas decorations and lights. Seeing it in my head now kinda feels like I’m watching an old movie. You couldn’t shop on Columbia Street and not get in the Christmas spirit.

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  This isn’t Columbia Street but a close reminder from back then 🙂

The night before Christmas, if the temperature had dropped, my whole family (mom, dad, brother, and me) would all sleep in the den. It was warm in there, and my parents didn’t have to worry about trying to heat the whole house. That was so much fun. Knowing everyone I loved was right in one room all warm and toasty was the best feeling ever.

I can remember waking up on Christmas morning and running to the formal living room which is where the Christmas tree was kept. My brother and I would tear into those presents. I knew to expect the latest baby doll and a surprise gift. One year I got a radio and a Whitney Houston cassette. I loved that radio and played it all the time. I’m sure I worked on everybody’s nerves having to hear Whitney Houston playing over and over again LOL!

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After we’d open gifts at home, we would put on our new Christmas clothes, pack up the car with more gifts for other family members, and prepare to take off for our thirty-second drive across the street to my grandparent’s house (seriously we did)

That’s when the fun really started. All my aunts, uncles, and cousins would come home for the holidays. My cousins and I played with our new toys. We ate the food my grandmother, mom, and aunts stayed up most of the night preparing. My grandparent’s house was filled with noise and laughter from the youngest to the oldest. I guess that’s why I can’t imagine a quiet Christmas. It wouldn’t feel like Christmas if I didn’t hear talking, laughing, and pots rattling from people going back for seconds or thirds.

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Cousins Sheneda and Sobrena Christmas 09′ at our grandparent’s house.

I can’t remember if presents came after or before dinner, but I do know that one thing never changed. My cousins and I all knew we were getting $5 from my grandmother. We did wonder if she’d eventually…maybe move up to $10 when we got older, but nope she stuck with her $5. Hey, it was $5 more than we had LOL!

Christmas is quite different for me now. Instead of trying to force myself to sleep and waking up extremely early, now I go straight to sleep and pray the children will at least sleep past six o’clock. These days, my joy and excitement come from watching my children opening their gifts. 

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I can say that even though many things have changed, some things remained the same. I don’t wake up early (voluntarily), I don’t get to eat my grandma’s cooking, receive her annual $5, or spend a cozy night with my parents, but every year God has blessed me to still hear and participate in the talking, laughing, and rattling of pots that let’s you know that it is indeed a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Writing Saved My Life

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It may sound a bit drastic to say that something as simple as writing saved my life, but I do feel that way. I know, of course, that God has always been by me during my toughest trials, but I also know that He’ll give us avenues to use when life’s battles seem to be a tad too much. 

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I started writing after my mom died in 1990. That was the first major death I’d experienced, and boy was it, MAJOR! Losing a mother, the person who knows how to make everything better, is devastating, especially for a thirteen-year-old girl who’s just discovering things about life and her body. Not a good feeling. 

A year after my mom died, I wrote a story called “The Day I’ll Never Forget.” It was all about June 9, 1990, the day she died. I mentioned in an earlier blog that it was that award-winning story that caused my teachers to encourage me to keep writing. I didn’t listen. I only wrote when I had to for school, rarely for pleasure. However, writing that story was therapy for me, but as a fourteen-year-old, it’s hard to explain how writing made you feel better.

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The next big loss came when my daughter passed on October 9, 2012 (Something about those 9’s I tell ya). I wrote every day for a year straight. I wasn’t working on a novel; I was working on me. Each day I’d write in my journal. It felt safe to share my true feelings in my journal. There I could write without the sad eyes, or the sympathetic tone that would’ve come had I told anyone else. I was free to say what I wanted, cried if I needed, and moved on. That’s just how I am. I don’t handle sympathy too well, never really learned how to do that. 

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Then, in 2015 I was hit yet again. Really God? That’s how I felt/feel most of the time because this time God took the first man I ever loved. Losing my daddy was like losing all the air in my body. I never really expected him to die. I know that sounds crazy, but my daddy, in my eyes, was next in line after Jesus. He wouldn’t die and leave me here. Okay, maybe that’s a bad example because Jesus died too, but you get the point :).

You have to understand; he was more than my dad; he was truly my best friend, my counselor, my doctor, my lawyer, my minister, my whatever I needed him to be when I needed him to be it. As you’ve probably gathered, I’d call him for any and everything. He had a way of making everything right. Even if it wasn’t if my daddy said it was alright, then my spirit felt that it was alright. Now don’t get me wrong, our relationship wasn’t always grits and butter :). We shared a birthday, and we were both Taurus’, so we knocked heads a lot. A little-known fact about me, I’m never wrong, and neither was he. You can imagine what those conversations sounded like LOL!

After my dad passed, I finally finished the novel I’d been working on for so long. I threw myself into my writing. It was my escape from the reality I no longer enjoyed. I’m blessed with a wonderful family and fabulous friends, but none of them are my daddy, and even through my many blessings, there’s still a lot of pain. 

I say that writing saved my life because it was my outlet. Storing emotions can be very damaging both mentally and physically. Everyone feels like they’re okay and managing it well until that day comes and you snap, or you crack, and then you realize you weren’t doing so well after all. I urge you if you’re hurting, grieving, suffering at all, please find a healthy outlet. Don’t hold it in because eventually it will come out and you, your family, friends, or coworkers may not like the manner in which it arrives.