31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 3 of 3)

31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 3 of 3)

Here’s the final installment. I wonder if I’ve been more positive as I take the time each day to speak out loud (and write out) something I’m thankful for. I think I’ll keep it going in a journal. Anywho, here goes!

24. I’m just thankful for life and love. Thankful for a good day.

[Update: This wasn’t a cop out. I really just had a good content day.]

25. I’m thankful for so much it’s overwhelming! I’m thankful for the opportunity to give God’s blessing to me back to Him. I’m thankful that Frederick knows and is loved by all four of his grandparents. I’m thankful that my grandmother has had the opportunity to hold Frederick multiple times. I’m thankful to have had both of my brothers, both of my parents, both of my aunts, 1st cousins from both sides of my family, and two special friends witness Frederick’s blessing today and eat with us after. I’m thankful for Rev. Daniel Watkins who keeps me prayed up and reminds whose I am when I’m starting to forget. I’m thankful for family, fellowship, and faith.

Rev. Daniel Watkins and Frederick Daniel
Baby Blessing – 11/25/12

26. I’m thankful to have gotten home safely after a long trip with a teething baby. I’m thankful to have found my home safe and sound. I’m thankful for a wonderful but too short trip to my home base.

27. I’m thankful for protection against dangers seen and unseen. I’m also thankful that my teething baby is finally sleep. Guess I need to close my eyes too.

28. I’m thankful (and sad at the same time) that Frederick is such a big boy. He ate food for the first time today and was a champ. I’m thankful he didn’t spit those green beans back at me, lol.

All done - Yum yum mama!
All done – Yum yum mama!

[Update: Day #3 of eating green beans was 10x messier than the first day. It was full of Frederick grabbing the spoon trying to feed himself and blowing green spit bubbles. :)]

29. I’m thankful for imagination and the ability to dream. My mom Mary Robinson and I had fun planning what we’d do with $500 million, lol. And now that we’ve awaken from that dream, I’m thankful for the provisions I already have!

30. I’m unbelievably thankful that today is Friday and I don’t have a busy weekend ahead. I’m going to straighten up downstairs and decorate the house, and I’m going to take Frederick to the Atlanta Botanical Garden with TEO to see their lights display. And I’m going to cook a couple of times (including this breakfast rice I scarfed down at Zion Travelers on Thanksgiving). And I’m going to RELAX.

Just the beginning!
Just the beginning!

31. I’m thankful to have an awesome support system in my family, my friends, and my sorors. I’m thankful for the “best of times and the worst of times” 2012 brought because it has made me the woman I am, and I kinda like me! I’m also thankful for following through with my 31 days of Thanksgiving. There’s always something to be thankful for each and every moment, we just have to remember to focus on the good and work around the rest.

The End. (Or maybe just the beginning!)

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31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 2 of 3)

31 Days of Thanksgiving (Part 2 of 3)

Here’s the second installment, and I’m stopping on the special day that was my BIRTHDAY!! I’m blessed. 🙂

Content

12. I’m thankful for 3 day weekends. I feel as rested as a single mother of a five month old can feel, lol. Also, Happy Veterans Day to all who have served, past and present, especially my grandfathers and my cousins!

13. I’m thankful for God’s perfection. I appreciate him not always letting me have my way because he knows my future and what needs to happen to get me there. Who knows where I’d be if my plans always worked out. What glitters isn’t always gold. Or even if it glittered with no glitches, my imagination is small stuff compared to what God can do.

14. I’m thankful for my health and for Frederick’s health. We haven’t had any major problems since he got here. I’m also very thankful to have been able to nurse him thus far! <side note: as I was typing this status, a flu shot commercial came on–was that a omen???>

[update: I went and got a flu shot later that week and still got sick, lol]

15. I’m thankful for the gift of resourcefulness. I’ve learned how to think outside the box when I need to. Small example: I got to work this morning and realized I forgot to pack bottles for pumping. I found a couple of rubber bands, grabbed some storage bags, and made it do what it do. 🙂

16. I’m thankful for The Learning Village and my daycare provider Dianne Coggins. I can breathe more easily knowing that someone I know and trust is caring for Frederick while I’m at work. It definitely made my transition back into the working world easier. I’m also thankful that she gives parents a Parents Night Out, which I’m gonna use to go get my hair laid and treat myself to dinner and maybe a movie if I take a nap under the dryer. 🙂

[update: I didn’t go to the movies, but I did make a full spa day out of the afternoon/evening. I got my hair done as planned, then got a mani/pedi and visited Sweet Samba before treating myself to dinner!]

17. I am thankful for a reason to get glammed up! I love formal events, semi-formal events, cocktail events, etc. Any reason to put on a beautiful dress, get the hair in a special do, and use more makeup than usual. And to think, I was the rebel quasi-tomboy girl back when I was invited to participate in my first pageant in 10th grade. Boy, how things change. AND I’m thankful if you’re supporting The Twenty Pearls Foundation Incorporated tonight and attending A Hush Affair!

All dolled up

18. I’m thankful for the adversity my friends and I have faced, and we still find ways to thrive this year. No one told me 2012 would be rough, but God has a plan–and we are being made better! #muchlove

Peter 3:3

19. I’m thankful for solution-oriented friends. In the last 36 hours, JenniferVeeKendraRashida, and Ashleyhave figured out how to make something happen for me. Thanks ladies! Smooches!

20. I’m thankful for my neighbors. I always wanted to live in a neighborhood where I liked the people living around me, and CandaceLatoya, and Mary are awesome! I appreciate them more than they know!

21. I’m thankful for traveling grace. I’m also thankful for peace of mind. After you’ve done all you can, you just stand.

22. I’m thankful for our holiday tradition of attending church and breakfast at Zion Travelers Baptist Church. I am thankful for a church family that has been a support system no matter where in the world I am!

23. I’m thankful for 31 years of blessings, adventures, and laughs. And I’m thankful for a timeline full of birthday wishes. And most of all, I’m thankful to bring in my 31st birthday as a mommy to my sweet sweet thang!

Life is good.

Life is good.

I’m in a really upbeat mood. Despite the fact that it’s the end of the month and my money is dwindling. Despite the fact that there’s one person who has a hopefully not permanent spot nagging the back of my brain. My mood is because I am so blessed that I simply can’t give more than a few seconds of thought at a time to what’s not awesome. In the last couple of weeks alone, I’ve gotten reassurance and encouragement from my mom, pastor, and friends. I’ve had friends give Frederick clothes, more and more books, and a box of diapers, treat me to dinner, help me with my baby scrapbook, and spend time chilling with me and the munchkin (giving me some adult time!). There was even an older sorority sister, who remembers me from college when she was a middle school teacher who helped me and my committee for a couple of years host science fairs, who called me out of the blue (or should I say out of the pink? 🙂 ) to check on me and get my address so she could send me a little something for Frederick. I hadn’t talked to her in YEARS, but she still has fond memories of me and was happy for me when she heard I’d had a little one.

I wake up every morning to a little boy who grins every time I kiss him. Smokie is still my sweet (and spoiled) honey baby who is getting used to sharing his attention with a manchild. My job has been the best at helping me transition back to work, and I haven’t had any problems tending to my mom stuff, like pumping. My son is with someone I know all day so I feel confident he’s ok. I have tons of pictures and videos to look at when I’m missing him. And the highlight of my day is seeing his face when he recognizes me when I pick him up in the evenings. We read books, have fun bath times, and he’s been going to sleep without fussing when I put him down at the end of the day. I have a groove in the evenings and a semi-groove when I start over again each morning. I’m eating well, and I’m even starting to enjoy cooking like I did years ago.

Truly, I am blessed. More and more, I believe it when people tell me I’m doing a great job as a new mommy. More and more, I know and can trust that the Lord is Jehovah Jireh and will provide even when I can’t see how. And more and more, I am able to be positive for others when they need it. I can’t adequately express how grateful I am to those who “loved me back to awesome” when feeling like crud was a normal part of my routine, and I am equally grateful to be able to return the favor and even pay it forward.

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Ok enough gushing–here’s some seriousness:

–Praying for safety for all who are dealing with Hurricane Isaac

–If you aren’t registered to vote, please do so. The deadline here in GA is October 9 to be able to vote on November 6. If you are registered, make sure you have the proper ID and know where your poll is.

Happy Wednesday, folks! Let’s get over the hump!

Happy Thoughts on a Happy Friday

Happy Thoughts on a Happy Friday

I was just thinking again about being home and remembered one of the cutest interactions of my pregnancy. One of my “big sisters” who I’ve known since I was a college sophomore and the older sister of one of my dearest friends, Adrienne, came to my shower with her two cutie pie daughters in tow, who were mini hostesses for the event. When we were all wrapping up and getting ready to leave, Taylor and Sidney asked me to tell the baby they said hi when he comes out. And I told them they could tell him right then because he can hear them! So they excitedly greeted him (and Sidney waved while saying hi–too cute!), and he started kicking! Their eyes got big, and all three of us grinned. It was such a perfect moment.

Taylor, Adrienne, and Sidney!

Hope everyone is having a great end of the week!!!

35 Weeks and Counting

35 Weeks and Counting

I have to say that as I head to the finish line of a fairly tumultuous pregnancy, I am so looking forward to meeting this big boy growing inside of me (and currently stretching and changing positions). I’m also looking forward to my time away from most of my other responsibilities while I just spend time with him, learning to take care of a newborn for the first time. I really can’t wait to his little face!

My house is coming along, very slowly but I think (and hope) surely. Between my cousin and my showers, I think (I’m still inventorying!) I have all the big stuff covered besides the storage things I need to order asap. His nursery has everything it needs besides paint. But back to the showers–I had nothing to do with either one, which was a brand new thing for me, and I appreciate my friends so much for such nice events. Not only were they really nice, but I also got a taste of letting go of control and letting people do nice things for me. Although I’m still not completely on board with being a “surprise” person, I can dig the surprise days of loving on Ranada. 🙂 Here are a couple of pics of me (with straight hair for the first time in two years!!) at my showers, my gracious hostesses, my core group of friends in Atlanta, and my mom and younger brother and Butterbean’s dad.

Atlanta

33 Weeks!
My Fab Hostesses minus one!
The Crew minus two

Jackson

34 Weeks!
My Hostesses and Beautiful Line Sisters
Love my family

The biggest thing I’ve had to learn over this time is that having faith is one thing when your life is moving along without many hiccups and quite another when you’re actually going through the low moments of your life. Having faith has been pretty hard, but I’m learning that although it’s so much easier to believe God knows what He’s doing when the skies are blue and the grass that really pretty shade of green, it’s most important to hold on to that belief when the sky is black in the middle of the day and it’s thundering and lightning and storming and there’s nothing but ugly concrete as far as the eye can see. And I think it’s pretty cool that the worst of my experience was during the “winter” (the little we had) where it was all ugly and rainy outside, and now that I’m so much more optimistic and positive, I see bright skies out my window and walk out into great weather. There are a couple of songs by Greg O’Quin ‘N Joyful Noize that have helped me during this trial as well as others.

I couldn’t find the other one on YouTube so here are some of the lyrics. It’s called “The Conversation”.

If I never had a rainy day, I’d never know You could brighten my day
If I never felt some loneliness, I’d never know of Your friendliness
If I never fell to the ground, I’d never know You could help me rebound

I’d never ever ever ever know You this way

If I never had a broken heart, I would never know You could mend the parts
If I never reached out for Your hand, I would never know You could help me stand
If I never had to shed a tear, I’d never know You are always near

I never knew You could save me, knew You could heal me, mend a broken heart… I never knew You could touch me, knew You could love me, I never knew until the day You showed me. To know You is to love You…

 Pregnancy Ticker

Lessons Learned by Farmer Jo, Part 2

Lessons Learned by Farmer Jo, Part 2

Back to those doggone squash and cucumbers. Much of what I learned about trying to grow them applies to my life in general. It all started when I went to Chicago in June to celebrate the 30th birthdays of three compadres. I purchased an automatic sprinkler so that my plants wouldn’t be thirsty for a full weekend. Well… I called myself testing it the night before and setting the timer for every 6 hours. Didn’t work out like I thought it would.

My cucumbers were overwatered, while my squash was underwatered. Isn’t that what happens sometimes in our relationships? You put in way more effort than is necessary for some people and neglect others. Yeah… So after that it was making up time. I had to figure out what could be salvaged. Which isn’t always that easy. Last night, I realized that I really need to sit down and do what I do on a somewhat regular basis–a friendship evaluation. But later on that–let me finish talking about my poor plants. 🙂

So my squash was growing, but they were almost orange, instead the great yellow my first crop was. In addition, the actual vines/roots were turning a dark green and looking pretty ashy and almost dead (and some were dead) and starting to look mangled. I probably  should have abandoned ship then, but Determined Dejoi couldn’t just admit defeat. I started back to my original regime after cutting off all the dead parts. It was looking pretty sparse after I cut all the dead weight off. After that only one more squash grew.

Lesson: When there’s more death than life or more negativity than positivity, it’s time to let go. Some things aren’t worth saving.

On the other hand, my cucumbers were growing, but they were discolored in a different way and disfigured. (Have you noticed here that colors tell the story if you only pay attention?) These babies were yellowish (not green) and round, instead of long. So I added soil to the pot to try to soak up some of that excess water, and I moved the pot so that the plants would get more sun. But more than that, when I looked at the vines, there were some serious issues. There were black vines all over the place. So I cut all of those off, but the cucumbers never grew normally, and I was scared to eat the warped cucumbers (although they smelled like cucumbers and Smokie enjoyed the one that fell off the vine, lol).

Lesson: You can flood anything or anyone or any situation, which warps the fruit of whatever seed you planted. If you’re putting more into something or someone than you’re getting back,  you need to evaluate the situation. 

My first summer of gardening was great. I had some wins and some losses, but I learned from it all. My carrots and broccoli are still looking great so far. I’m even considering growing onions later in the winter. Here are some questions that I’m asking myself during my friendship evaluation:

  • Whose lives are you enhancing and who is enhancing yours?
  • In whom are you investing and who is investing in you?
  • Who do you prioritize and who prioritizes you?
  • Whose opinions do you value? Whose do you dismiss?
  • Who actively listens to you? Who do you think you waste your breath on?
  • Who keeps indirect tabs on you but doesn’t directly deal with you? Do they use that information to help or hurt you?
  • Who do you feel comfortable confiding in?

In all of this, it’s important to honor your instincts. Some friendships are for a season, some for a reason, and some for a lifetime. No, I don’t talk to all my friends every day–I have people I truly consider friends who I have confidence in even though they’re not on my normal rotation. So you have to consider all that. And you need to ask yourself if you spend more time and energy on the people who don’t add to you than who do. If so, you have some adjusting to do. I know I do.

Almost 30! Many lessons down, many more to go!

MLM: Good friends, good music, good conversation

MLM: Good friends, good music, good conversation

I found this post, written on 1/8/04.  I took a little bit of it out cuz I have some present day things to say. 🙂

I thought this post was interesting because:

1-I was just thinking about how I haven’t been to Apache on a Wednesday in soooooooo long (way too long) and I ran into one of my old Apache buddies when I was leaving How Sweet the Sound, which was such a great concert, Saturday night.

2-This post talks a little about how much singing means to me.  Saturday night, while at the gospel concert, I was thinking, if I would just take my little busy bee butt to choir rehearsal, it’s possible that I’d be on stage right now.  Then on Sunday, I went to the studio and started laying down a track for a songwriter/producer friend of mine who is trying to sell a song and thought my voice was perfect for it even though it’s been years since he heard me sing. Singing is definitely a release, and I felt better when I left.  I dunno why I don’t make singing more of a priority.  I say this at least 4 times every year. 🙂

3-This little metaphor about boys and jeans that I wrote over 6 years ago made me smile so I want to share.

It’s a morose Monday for me because it was cold as ever this morning (48 degrees), and I’m having some other little issues.  But maybe some noon time sunshine and an email or two will make me feel a little happier.  Enjoy the post, and I hope you’re in for a mucho productive week!

Last night I had a wonderful time. We went to Apres Diem for dinner first then to Apache, which is one of my fave spots. Thank you to my home girl Mo for taking me there a year ago. Music is so good for the soul, I tell you. At first, I was getting agitated because there were no seats, and I was getting a little weary. Then one of the girls I was with debo’ed a table, and shortly after two more seats opened up, and I really enjoyed myself after that. I felt so glamorous too. Half the time I really don’t see anything in my closet to wear, but when I am trying to dress up, I think I do it right. I think I get that from my mama. [[words omitted]] So I’m sitting there, sipping on my White Zinfandel and enjoying the company three other black sistas, and I realize that I could get used to that. Just going out, chillin, getting wrapped up in the music. One day, I’m going to get over my chronic shyness and go up there and share a talent, share some emotions. But until then, I’ll be content feeling what other people are trying to relay and singing my heart out in the shower, in the car, and at church (while I’m in the congregation and everybody is singing).

[[words omitted]]
During dinner, my friend and I talked about alot of stuff, and one thing that she said that I am really thinking about now is that guys are like pairs of jeans. And this is both our thoughts together. We see some really cute ones, and we try them on, and they maybe fit in the waist, but not the hips. Or they fit up top but aren’t long enough. And sometimes we try on a pair that would look so good if only we could button them up or if only this, if only that, and we try and we try and we try to make them fit, but they just don’t. So we have to realize that and put them back on the rack. And maybe they were the perfect jeans, but you’re just not the right size at the time. Maybe you’ve gained weight and they would have fit before, or maybe you’re going to lose some later on, but right now, they just don’t fit. But we have to keep trying different pairs on, even if we’re disappointed about that one pair. Cuz if we don’t keep trying, we’ll never find those jeans that just fit. I wonder if I’ll ever find my pair of jeans. But I guess I do need to stop holding on to my favorite pair of jeans that split by the back pocket one day (this is for real), and get it made into a cute purse or something so that I can always cherish the memory, and go back to the mall and start trying on jeans again.

By the way, I still have those jeans.  They actually made into my throw away pile FINALLY a couple of days ago. How hilarious is that!  Now, in case you’re having a morose Monday like me, here are a couple of songs that always make me feel better.