31 Reasons I Love My Mom

31 Reasons I Love My Mom

Last month, I shared a status on Facebook that mentioned that I had received a couple of negative comments about how much I talk about my mom. I received tons and tons of support for showing my mom love, and then one friend even suggested that I share something I love about my mom daily. Well, I’ve never been one to turn down a “dare” so I took the challenge. And now that it’s September (the challenge is over!), here’s a run down of just a few of the endless reasons I love my mom.


Day 1: I love my mom because she gave me her heavy duty umbrella this morning and took my flimsy little umbrella. And it came in handy when I drove up to daycare and the sky was falling. My little umbrella is for sprinkle storms, lol. Thanks again ma!

Day 2: I love my mom because she helps me start my day on a positive note every morning. During my commute, I always talk to her about how we’re feeling, any new family updates, and current events. It kinda reminds me of when I was a kid and she would call me at home after I got off the bus. Back then, I thought she was magic because she could tell if something was wrong just by the way I said hello. I enjoy having someone to check in with.

Day 3: I love my mom because she has believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She reminds me of who I am when I’ve forgotten.

Day 4: I love my mom because she knew I needed a break even though I’d never ask. She came here, got Frederick, and then brought him back because she doesn’t want me on the road. Thanks again.

Day 5: I love my because she exposed me to culture and education outside of the classroom. I love to travel, and I know it’s partly because it’s second nature.
Day 6: J’adore ma maman because she always includes me in her If-I-win-the-big-lottery-wishlist.

Day 7: I love my mom because she has become the caretaker for my aunt, even though she had a million reasons not to. She’s my example of duty, love, and family responsibility. And yes, I know I skipped yesterday–I wanted to be consistent with the calendar so that I don’t have to keep looking to see what day I’m on, lol.

Day 8: I love my mom because when I was a kid, she never gave me a hard time for my preference to write her a letter when something was bothering me over talking to her. I still remember vividly putting letters on her pillow and running to my room and pretending to be sleep when I heard her walking to the back. It means a lot to me to have had someone who respects my ways of communicating.

Day 9: I love my mom because she’s a stunna. You would never guess how old she is. And she is one of those people that looks great when she’s not trying. So to you people who think I look like an undergraduate, I get it from my mama. LOL

Day 10: I love my mom because she instilled the importance of community service in me. She took us to feed the homeless on holidays, she encouraged me to tutor my peers and students in lower grades, and she never let me forget to give back to the community that supported me.

Day 11: I love my mom because I have a thousand sippy cups as a result of her quest for the “perfect” sippy cup. lol

Day 12: I love my mom because I get my niceness under pressure from her. I’ll credit my fiestiness when I’m fed up to my daddy or maybe my aunt Vernita, but I know I get my (albeit reluctant) need to try to keep my temper at bay and smooth it out if at all possible from her. She hates conflict and avoids it like the plague.

Day 13: I love my mom because she and Frederick have a secret language. When we skyped her yesterday, he started grinning and “talking” to her. I have no idea what their convo was about, but they enjoyed it.

Day 14: I love my mom because when she wanted me to divert my focus to positive things, she didn’t just say “be positive,” she gave me plenty to focus on. She’s been in my corner, she helps me physically, emotionally, and financially, and when I’m feeling like I’m missing out, I can redirect to how much help I have from her.

Day 15: I love my mom because her food is yummy. She says when she cooks for me, she cooks with love for me and my baby, and that’s why I haven’t been able to replicate a couple of her (seemingly very simple) recipes.

Day 16: I love my mom because she’s always been a real person, not a fantasy. When I go through various life experiences, she doesn’t judge me, but she shares with me similar experiences she’s been through. She’s never pretended to be perfect, and I appreciate that because she’s a true example of “how I got over”.

Day 17: I love my mom because she tells me stories about my relatives who have gone on. She lets me know that they were my guardian angels on earth too. And I wouldn’t really know that I am anything like my Aunt Vernita if my mom didn’t tell me. Happy birthday, Vernita.

Day 18: I love my mom because she raised me in church, and I still have a family at Zion Travelers to whom she gives regular updates (and they actually care!). I love my mom because she has Frederick in church when he’s in MS.

Day 19: I love my mom because she plays Wordfeud with me and gives me commentary on her other games and background life info about the randoms she plays lol!

Day 20: I love my mom because she loves ratchet TV. As intellectual as she is, you’d never guess that she enjoys watching Jerry Springer, Steve Wilkos, and the who’s the daddy show (can’t think of the name). And then, because she’s so intellectual, she analyzes the personalities she sees and connects them to real life to explain why folks act so crazy. Gotta love it! (Sorry if that was a secret, Mary Robinson!!)
Day #21: I love my mom because she really took care of my hair and skin when I was growing up. She never let me sleep with stress on my hair, which meant she combed and brushed my hair every single morning. And she lathered me up with cocoa butter, aloe vera, and whatever else to make sure I didn’t have scars and such. I finally appreciate this now that Frederick is starting to come home with various scars. I also love her because she STILL takes care of my hair when she can. She will sit down and twist all this hair I have if I ask.

Day #22: I love my mom because she encouraged me to start taking advantage of kids eating free at Piccadilly so on nights like tonight when I don’t feel like cooking, I can still make sure Frederick gets his veggies. Yum. Reminds me of going to Morrison’s after church some Sundays!

Day #23: I love my mom because she has always given me space to choose my path. When faced with a fork in the road, sometimes she won’t even give me her opinion if she thinks I will just go with that instead of figuring out what I want. Case in point: when Tougaloo sent me a letter before I went back to school for 11th grade saying if I maintained my GPA I could bypass my senior year and go there on a full ride, she let me choose without pushing me in any direction. She said she didn’t want me to ever look back on life and regret a decision because I didn’t make it. I’m the master of my fate.

Day #24: I love my mom because she sticks up for me. Sometimes I get bogged down in wishing someone would speak up for me/defend me/have my back in tough situations, not knowing that my mom already has. She just may not tell me for months or years, lol.

Day #25: I love my mom because I can’t for the life of me figure out how she did laundry and ironed clothes for our family when I was growing up. It’s only two of us now, and I never feel like I’m caught up on laundry, and I definitely don’t have time to be ironing LOADS of clothes at a time. Seems like her days were made up of >24 hours, but of course they weren’t. Guess she hides the superwoman get up under her clothes, lol!

Day 26: I love my mom because she loves animals. For as long as I can remember, she’s always had love for the 4-legged companions. Even though they creep me out, her fave is long-haired cats, but she loves her grandpups tons. From Delilah (cat) to Jeremiah (dog) to Diamond (cat) to Rex (dog) to Jade (dog), there’s always been an animal around her house to soak up the extra love and compassion. Hope I didn’t miss any pets. LOL (And yes, she loves her some Smokie, and he loves her too.)

Day #27: I love my mom because even though math is my forte, I have effective writing skills because of her. She is a retired English instructor, which means when I was growing up I couldn’t finish a sentence using incorrect grammar without her interrupting me and making me correct myself. I was constantly looking in the dictionary for the correct spelling of words because she wouldn’t just tell me. I never received the kind of help i wanted when writing papers because she believed the only way to learn was to completely write the paper before she marked it up with red ink. All of that has resulted in writing skills that people seem to enjoy reading (www.nadajo.com) and that I am able to use in proofreading. Thanks, smarty pants lady.

Day #28: I love my mom because she is one of the main reasons I wanted to attend an HBCU. She took me to probably every JSU home game and several of the away games if there was bus headed there, and she made sure I was on somebody’s campus every summer.

Day #29: I love my mom because she prepared me for my future. I wasn’t afraid to stay on campus (even at 16!) and I wasn’t afraid to move to another city after college because neither was new frontier. She let me try different things and figure out things while I was growing up so that she could catch me if I fell. I still remember her telling my dad that they needed to let me go out on dates while I was still at home so that I wouldn’t get to college and lose my mind. I can still see the frown etched in his face when my first date got to the house to introduce himself a couple of days before the actual date (for which my dad didn’t even answer the door–he went and sat on the porch. LOL!).

Day #30: I love my mom because she was always the “cool mama”–every one of my friends who has been around her any time loves her. I remember being jealous of Jamie B. when she got my mom as her big sister in Christ. Lordy, I was like she’s all mine!!! LOL

Day #31: I love my mom simply because she’s my mom and she’s stuck with me for life. LOL! Thanks for bearing with me all month! Bye August!

Blast from the Past

Blast from the Past

Two nights ago I got a message on Google+ from a familiar but distant name:

Ranada. . .would your middle name happen to be Dejoi?

I replied “Yes my middle name is Dejoi. Is this <enter his name> from Vicksburg that went to summer camp with me in middle school???”

And he replied, “Yes. It’s me. WOW…”

Wow is right! It’s been 17 years since our last correspondence. He was the cutest boy in the academic camp we attended at Hinds Community College Utica Campus, and it turned out that we both had mutual crushes on each other. We spent most of the camp shyly flirting, and finally, after a maybe a week of “going together” lol, he gave me a smooch (at that time, I still thought french kissing was mucho yucky, and it would be another couple of years before I tried that out, lol!) by the swings (but not after dark) as a sweet gesture because of my love for the Subway song. After camp, we wrote letters for a brief time.

A couple of years ago, I found an envelope of stuff from him that I had saved. I did a FB search and didn’t find anything. Of course I wondered where he was, how he was doing, and if he even remembered me, but after the fruitless FB search I gave up. So imagine my surprise when I saw his name in my email inbox!

He is doing well now–he has a wife and a baby girl due any moment. But guess how small the world is–he lives in Atlanta too and moved here the year after I did since we both moved for graduate school. It warms my heart to know that I had good taste in junior high, lol. He seems to be doing well for himself as an adult, and he is still handsome! I just thought I’d share that blast from the past. It’s awesome to see how people are doing now. I keep up with a few of my summer camp friends (I went to an academic camp every year from 6th grade (really, before!! I just remember my first overnight camp was at Pineywoods Country Life School the summer after 6th grade and I was technically too young but I was in the right grade!) to 10th grade (I spent the summer after my 11th grade year taking a senior English literature class that was the exact same as an AP English class I had already taken just so I could have my diploma since I was skipping my senior year to attend Tougaloo)). I’m so happy my mom thought it was necessary to make sure that I spent my summers with other smart black kids on college campuses so that I’d know I wasn’t an exception to any rule about black folks (I came home from a trip with the gifted program asking were the other two black students and I different since we were all there were in the entire program). Now I am blessed to know and be surrounded by so many sharp, amazing people.

Here’s an ode to my junior high school summer camp boo.

What Should I Read?

What Should I Read?

According to Shelfari, I’ve read 27 books this year. Whoa! That’s awesome. Last year, I read 19 books. So I wonder if I really need to know that or I may embark on an everlasting competition with myself on how many books I can read per year. LOL.

So anyway, help me decide what I should read as my last book of 2012. 🙂

Note that all of these are on my reading list, and I’ve actually read the Kindle samples (which is about 3 chapters each) of 11/22/63 and The Litigators, so I’m kinda leaning toward those. I have the sample for 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, but I’m not in a rush to read that one. I also have some nonfiction books on my list, but I need something fiction and entertaining for my vacation next week. Here are the Amazon links in case you really want to help me decide and need the synopses. 🙂

Last Post on Buenos Aires (For Now)

Last Post on Buenos Aires (For Now)

So I went through the awesome and the great. Earlier this week, I posted on my work blog the ugly. Check it out here. That part was rather crazy. If you want to know more about Argentina and black folk, google Domingo Sarmiento. It’s just so weird to see other people who have noticeable hues have such color issues. Not surprised, but wasn’t really all that prepared. I just wish American black people had a place they could really go and not stand out like a sore thumb. But AT LEAST, we didn’t have to go through what I went through in friggin Strasbourg, France. Now in the words of Kanye–THAT ish was cra’y! So as my mom reminds me often these days, the Buenos Aires trip could have been better in terms of the way some (not all) people treat black folk, but it DEFINITELY could have been worse. So that definitely didn’t overshadow the awesomes and greats.

I feel like I’ve left out a lot about the trip, but I can’t quite come up with what else I have left to say. Maybe it’ll come to me in my dreams (I really do dream about what to write sometimes, lol). And in case you’re wondering, no, I still haven’t found my battery charger (and to be honest, I keep forgetting to look) so the pics are still forthcoming. I’ll get them out before the end of the year, LOL.

In terms of travel, another country conquered and another continent visited! I have three more continents to go (Africa, Asia, and Australia), and of course there are still countries in Europe, S. America, and our very own N. America that I’d like to eventually get to. I think I’ve gotten a good number under my belt by 30 though, right? 🙂 I love to explore and experience new places and observe cultures in person. It’s just so much to glean from stepping outside of your norm and seeing how other people live life and handle issues. And of course seeing how all people are similar on the other side of that coin. I love traveling. ❤

I’ll be back later. I hope everyone is ready for the weekend, baby!!

Listen to the Signs

Listen to the Signs

Generally, when I take lunch, if I don’t have errands to run, I use that hour as a time to completely get away. I go somewhere that I likely won’t run into anyone I have to make polite convo with and I read or I write or I doodle, whatever I feel like for that hour. Well, today, I walked over to Arby’s for a Jr. Roast Beef sammich and those yum yum curly fries and curled up in my chair with the latest book I’m reading A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe (I was reading The Complete Collection of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and grew a bit tired after seeing I’m only 2% in and I’ve already read the first story and am almost done with the second story. This is a long series, so I’ll be reading that as I read everything else on my list–The New Jim Crow is next.).

Anyhow, I looked out the window and who do I see coming up the stairs but Mr. Rundles–my line sister’s dad who lives not too far from where I live and who has fed me alot over the years (what? I love to eat delish food!!) but we’ve kinda been disconnected since Jenn moved to NC. So we chatted briefly then parted to have our peaceful lunches. Ending about the same time, he offered me a ride back to work. We were talking along the way about this dreadful housing market, and he mentioned a couple of options for refi that I hadn’t considered. I had automatically assumed that I wasn’t even eligible since I’ve never been late or missed a payment and because for most programs, particularly that eye-roll inducing NACA who were extremely rude to me, I have too much income despite the fact that my house has depreciated way more than I want to talk about because it’s sickening. Talk about a tap on the shoulder from God! I jumped on the internet to check things out and it looks like Mr. Rundles was on to something. I’m looking forward to calling and finding out more.

I love when people are put in my path and it’s quite obvious that I was supposed to see them and talk to them and LISTEN to them. And I love when I am reminded that I have support all around even if I don’t see them as much as I did long ago. I told Mr. Rundles that I’ll call soon so I can come by and get some of that great food that used to be a regular treat. Yay for great parents who love their children’s friends. 🙂

No Candy for the Kids

No Candy for the Kids

Last night, I got home ready for a nice quiet evening with the Smokester and a humble dinner of Captain D’s, and I was in for a rude awakening. Now, prior to last night, I can’t remember one doorbell ringing on Halloween in the years I’ve been in my neighborhood. And despite the fact that almost every weekend, Smokie has a set of friends that will come knock on my door to ask if Smokie can play, it didn’t dawn on me that I needed to have some candy for the kids that have moved into the neighborhood over the last year (and as I found out last night, there are quite a few of them!). So about 30 minutes after I came in from walking Smokie, the doorbell rang. And I panicked. Am I now that mean lady on the street that doesn’t love the kiddies??? I ran to my pantry, and there was no candy in sight. Not even a peppermint. I thought to myself, should I give bags of popcorn?? Naaaah, that’s just a little too much. Mind you, this whole time Smokie is barking his head off because the doorbell rang, so I’m pretty sure it’s pretty clear that someone is home and just not answering. Eeek. About 15 minutes later, another doorbell. At this point, I was upstairs making sure I looked remotely presentable so I could go hunt down candy. By the time I got to the door to apologize for not having candy, they were gone. But in the corner of my eye I saw a wee one trying to tell her chaperone that someone was at the door.

So I headed to CVS and picked out three types of candy and headed back home. Now I was prepared. But now it was dark. :-/ So I was sure I completely missed the youngest and cutest and probably most excited kids. I kept my door open with the light on so that future Trick or Treaters would know that we were open for business. A whole hour passed, and I was about to pout that I potentially dampened the night of the kids and subsequently wasted my money on a bunch of candy because of my lateness.

Then my doorbell finally rang and it was Smokie’s friends! I gave them candy and they were all excited to see Smokie. (Then I felt a little underdressed and felt like I could have AT LEAST dressed Smokie up, smh.) After they left, they alerted a few more of the neighborhood kids and they came by and rang the doorbell too. So all was not lost. But trust and believe that my house will be ready with candy and probably even costumes next year!!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

I’m not dressing up this year, but I do have on black and orange. 🙂

I just wanted to share one of all-time favorite Stevie Wonder songs. My dad used to pop this on the record player and sing it with me. I wonder if it was a ploy to make sure I wasn’t a liar, lol. That and getting dropkicked by my mom when I actually did tell a lie or two as a child because I was scared to tell her the truth (and her beatdown speeches consisted of “You wouldn’t have gotten this whipping if you had told me the truth–this one is for lying to me”) prevented me from picking up that nasty habit. Thank goodness for that! Because lying is so unnecessary to me. But that’s a whole other post for a different day.

I actually wanted to talk a little about how supportive my parents are. I’m definitely who I am because of the way they raised me. Much appreciated since I love who I am! 🙂

So anyway, if you haven’t already figured out what the song is, here it goes!!

Unexpected Blessings

Unexpected Blessings

Yesterday, I had an appointment for an herbal body wrap at Hadiya Wellness. I’ve never been there, and although I was excited about trying the wrap for the first time, I woke up not feeling my best. I didn’t feel well physically or emotionally. But I’m a fighter, so I pushed on and made my way to East Atlanta with a large sprite in hand to try to settle my stomach.

He Ain't Heavy by Gilbert Young

You know how sometimes all it takes is for a friend to say “Are you ok?” for you to completely lose your cool? Well, I hadn’t talked to a friend that morning, so I felt like I had myself pretty together. I could fake the funk in the few minutes of chatting you do with a service provider before they get to doing whatever it is they’re about to do, right? Wrong. I signed in and stepped into my designated room. A lady, who turned out to be Asha, the director of Hadiya, greeted me then said “Are you ok?” and I said “Oh I’m ok besides that I don’t feel all that well.” So she asked what was going on and I told her, and she said well, we can do the appointment if you want, but you don’t have to–we can reschedule to when you feel better. Then she led me over to the seating area in the room and sat with me and said “what else is going on? you can talk to me. you seem like you’re overwhelmed and just need to let it out. go ahead.” And I immediately started crying. It’s amazing how God will put you exactly where you need to be. I didn’t know this woman from Eve, and she sat with me for however long when she didn’t have to, allowing me to express myself and find some relief. When I couldn’t talk because of my tears, she basically told me how I felt and all I had to do was nod. It was kinda crazy, but it felt good to hear that someone understood how I felt. She gave me some words of affirmation and assured me that I’d be ok. Then she pulled out the lavender oil, brought in a foot massager, dimmed the lights, and let me sit in the room alone and just meditate and think about how good God has been and will continue to be.

That just reinforced for me that God uses whoever allows Him to bless people. Asha could have said either you get this service or you pay me a cancellation fee. Or she could have just done the service not knowing if it’d make me sicker. She could have ignored whatever little voice was telling her that I wasn’t just sick physically and let me walk out the door still feeling like crap. I really appreciate her, and I hope that I don’t ignore the subtle nudges we sometimes get to do more than nod and smile at some stranger as they walk by or to ask deeper questions of people we’re talking to because they need a sounding board. I’m not one that regularly accepts help from others, but I’m glad that there’s a higher power that knows me better than I know myself. And I look forward to patronizing Hadiya in the future, when I’m in better health. 🙂

Be blessed, lovelies!

Bucket List

Bucket List

I was looking at the WordPress Daily Post in efforts to be a better bloggers for you all (lol–I have plenty to write about, I just can’t manage to be disciplined to get online, log in, and let my fingers go to work). Anywho, today topic was:

Topic #242:

Write your bucket list – a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.

I immediately thought of this website I visited 3 years ago where I created a list of goals and yes, forgot all about. On 43 Things, I listed 43 things I wanted to get done–a bucket list of my own, and although I hadn’t logged on in years, I was encouraged to see that I have accomplished 3 of those things and making progress on seven others. Not surprisingly, most of my “things” are either travel-related or centered around being a more well-rounded, balanced person. So here’s what I’ve completed. Yay for trackable progress!

1. Go on a missions trip: I actually organized my own. Last year, a group of us went to New Orleans and had an interesting time volunteering with ongoing rebuilding efforts. We definitely plan to keep up the momentum. I’m currently working on a trip that will hopefully happen in October so that this can be an annual thing.

2. Keep in touch better with old friends: This one may seem kinda boring, but I really cherish those relationships I’ve had over the years. Especially when I was kid. I was a pretty not-your-run-of-the-mill kid so it wasn’t all that easy for me to let my guards down and really get close to people. I haven’t gotten in a rhythm with all the special people in my past, but I’ve made amends with some pretty important folks and reestablished our friendships, and I’m proud of myself for that. More than that, though, I’m happy to be back in contact with them. Now I just need to extend the effort to a few more VIPs.

3. Join Junior League of Atlanta: I forgot that was even a goal back then. I joined in 2009 and stayed active, working hard on fulfilling my requirements, for two years. I didn’t renew this year because I just wasn’t feeling it. I definitely respect and support all the great things JLA does for the Atlanta community, but I didn’t feel connected to the organization at all. I do plan to redirect that energy to the organizations in which I have leadership roles already. I definitely had enough on my plate as it was so I don’t feel THAT bad (just a little) about abandoning that one. But I got it done, lol.

So what else am I working on?

  • Becoming less shy – yes believe it or not, I’m an introvert. I really don’t like public speaking and I don’t like talking to strangers. But I have been putting myself in positions where I have to be a little more upbeat and friendly than is natural for me. 🙂
  • Blogging more often – I giggled when I saw this one. Evidently, I’ve been struggling with this one ever since I left my place over on blogger. I used to have fun over there. I guess it was way easier for me to make you guys laugh talking about my dating exploits than it is for me to be a little more grown up. 🙂 Maybe I’ll start back telling funny stories though.
  • Finding additional streams of income – Since then, I’ve started tutoring. I didn’t mark this off the list though because the key is that letter s at the end of streams. So I’m still masterminding my way of two other things that are also on my list: getting out of debt and becoming a millionaire. 
  • Learning how to crochet – My grandma started teaching me how to crochet probably not too long after I put that on my list. I have a  couple of stitches on my belt, but I have a loooooooooooooong way to go before I am even close to her level. But this was a two-fer. I got to spend some extra quality time with her and hear stories while she showed me something I really want to learn.
Of course there are 40 more things on the list. I won’t go through all of them, but just for a little fun, I have the following on my places to travel (and I said I wanted to live in Paris :-D): Australia, Egypt, Uganda, Greece, and a cross-country road trip. I actually considered both Egypt (then the riots happened) and the cross-country road trip (along with Amsterdam) for my flirty 30 trip, but I settled on Buenos Aires, Argentina. 🙂
How about you? What’s on your bucket list? Are you going to 43Things to start your own list?