Here’s What You Need To Know If You Are Headed to The Beach or Pool This Summer

It’s that time of the year again where children are excited about getting out of school, taking a family vacation and just being away from the classroom for a while. For the adults, summer trips are being planned to the beach, water parks and community pools to escape the heat. This means neighborhood and community pools and parks are gearing up to host hundreds of children throughout these hot, summer months to aid in the cool down. There’s something you need to think about as you head off to these bodies of water: Water Safety!

This includes learning how to swim. Ladies, while I understand the work and cost that goes into keeping our hair up, getting our hair wet is not a good enough reason to not learn how to swim if we are going to be headed to pools and beaches this summer. This topic only came to mind after so many years of swimming myself and learning that a lot of women have not taken advantage of swim lessons. Their main reason was due to their getting their wet, messing up perms, damaging their hair from the harsh chemicals that are in pools.

It’s a sensitive topic, I know. Because usually when you make mention of someone’s hair as it relates to water and the hairdo- someone is bound to talk about how much it cost to get their hair done and how they do not want to waste “all that money” at the beauty shop, just for their child or themselves to jump into the water and mess it up. I get it. I wouldn’t want to either. However, if I am going to make the choice to go to the beach or pool, where I know that I am going to get into water, there’s a chance that my hair will get wet. Knowing how to swim is important to me. It is also important to me that my child knows, since he loves the water as much as I do. Even when you go and wear a cap or have your hair up with no intention on submerging your head, there’s always the possibility of going under, so you still want to be able to swim your way out.

On a trip to LEGOLAND last year, I learned with my own child that you cannot always rely on a lifeguard. Neither should you. It was my own vigilance at the pool and my ability to swim, which rescued him, as the Life-guards stood by watching and others were pre-occupied with talking to each other, distracted by their cell phones and never knew anything happened.

I don’t want to run drowning statistics on you, neither do I want to create a fear that we are never to go into the water again. But I would like to convey that it is a serious matter. While there are several people who drowned who were able to swim, it was under harsh and extreme circumstance. Most drownings were due to an inability to swim.

For the most part, children love water: They love to play in it, jump in it and often underestimate the dangers that surround water. When they see water, the first thing that want to do is run and jump in it.

The first lesson of swimming is that you are going to get your face wet. So, in getting them used to it, we would start with water splashing.  Remove those small fears and it creates an avenue for the beginner lessons to begin, such as putting your face in the water, holding your breath underwater, being comfortable with being submerged in the water…. etc.

Getting back to the hair: In a related article I offered suggestions about a great conditioner for the hair. This was an item that I personally use, but not on a selling trip… merely making the point that a good conditioner may tackle the issues of hair and pool/beach. Invest in a good coverage swim cap. Condition your hair daily, so that the parts that do get wet are safe. Sign up for a beginner’s swim class. Learn to swim.

Additionally, there are hair products such as Aqua Guard pre-swim, which act as a protect layer that you can use on the hair prior to getting into the water. There’s also a product called Ion Swimmers leave in and Surf Cream Rinse Conditioner. These products are designed for protecting the hair against the chemicals in the water. Too much hair for a swim cap? That’s cool…. Leave the cap off and explore those conditioner and pre-pool conditioner options. You can always explore the idea of braids for your child while they are learning to swim or for when your beginner swimmer heads into the water. This will help tremendously with the tangles. Tie the hair up in a tight ball while braided to decrease the number of loose hairs that would get tangled.

The Wrap Up: If we know that even the strongest swimmer can drown, we know that the possibility of drowning increases as we put non-swimmers in beaches and pools without proper training and techniques or even the basics of breathing and staying afloat.

We can tackle these numbers this year by making sure that all children take basic water safety and beginners swim class. Adults can also join in on the fun! You can still get your Friday night hairdo and skip the water for the duration of the time that your style will last but take time in those weeks where you are waiting for an appointment, to make sure that you learn to swim if the pool and beach is on your radar for summer fun.

Suggestions for Swim Class: American Red Cross, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club of America, Private Lessons int eh community and neighborhood, Community Colleges and Summer Programs. There is a plethora of options.

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A “GETAWAY” is Not Always About “Getting Away” From Something You Don’t Like

beach, lady, laptop

Some of the best travel experiences I have had included Las Vegas, Nevada. Yup, right here in the United States. The first time I traveled there was in 2010, on assignment during the time I spent writing for Examiner.com. It was a media assignment to cover the Floyd “Money” Mayweather and “Sugar” Shane Mosley Boxing match.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley was a boxing welterweight non-title super fight, in which Mayweather won by unanimous decision with two judges scoring it 119–109 and one judge scoring it 118–110.

I visited again while writing for Examiner.com to cover another fight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, billed as The Fight of the Century, or the Battle for Greatness, was a professional boxing match between undefeated five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather.

While I had a strong interest in the sport of boxing, being in attendance for both the weigh-in and the fight, along with the activities and events that surrounded the weekend; it was the time I spent sightseeing in my free time that I was able to fully enjoy being in the city. So many things to do and so many things to see was what inspired my third trip simply because I couldn’t pack it all into the first two.

architecture, attraction, building

Getting off the plane on that third visit to Las Vegas was majestic. It was hot as tamales of course, with temperature up to 110 when I arrived, but once I kicked the layers off, threw on some shorts, sandals, a tank top and tied my hair back, the rest was history. This time, I was still on assignment but was writing with a media outlet where I had more freedom to explore the city and share with my readers all that Vegas had to offer. So, while I was still working, I was having fun doing something that I loved to do. I had found a way to combine work with play.

Vegas is truly like one super-sized adult theme park on steroids! From the architectural designs of the buildings/hotels to the layout of the famous Vegas Strip. A sea of lights and it’s no wonder it’s called the city that never sleeps!

The highlights of my trip included:

The Mob Museum: Officially the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, is a history museum located in Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada.

Las Vegas Observation Wheel: High Roller is a 550-foot tall, 520-foot diameter giant Ferris wheel on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, United States of America. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Freemont Street Experience: Sprawling 24-hour mall featuring a huge LED canopy, casino & restaurant access & free entertainment.

Aerial Photography of City during Evening

The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is a public aquarium located at and owned by the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its main tank is 1,300,000 US gallons, one of the largest in North America

Madame Tussauds Las Vegas: a wax museum located in the Las Vegas Strip at The Venetian Las Vegas casino resort in Paradise, Nevada. The attraction opened in 1999, becoming the first Madame Tussauds venue to open in the United States.

The Grand Canyon Tour: Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters – This magnificent helicopter ride provides stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West. Additionally, passengers will experience an exhilarating landing at the bottom of the canyon on our private plateau overlooking the mighty Colorado River. Upon landing, guests enjoy a champagne picnic with refreshments and have ample time to explore the awe-inspiring grandeur that is the Grand Canyon.

Vegas Shows: Baz! Set in a modern and intimate cabaret, BAZ is a celebration, a mash-up of music, and moments from the greatest love stories imagined by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award-nominated director Baz Luhrmann. Theatregoers follow the romances from Luhrmann’s iconic films: Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, and The Great Gatsby as the lovers discover whether fortune is in their favor.

Las Vegas Strip Signage

I encourage everyone to do a little traveling in their lifetime. Even if it starts with visiting the next state or over from them. There is so much more out there to see. But here’s why I think that part is important: It broadens your horizons. You meet new people. It connects you with people. You learn about culture. You become more versed in communication.

Being knowledgeable/aware of different things helps you understand different people and with that understanding, it organically generates compassion in the vessels of the heart. Depending on where you go or how far you travel outside of your comfort zone, it opens your mind to the things going on around the world, in which you will most likely relate to or at least have more insight into.

I came across a post on twitter recently, where the twitter user referenced “people who have to getaway” It read: “People are always talking about getting away and taking a getaway. If they didn’t hate their lives and were to create a life that they are happy with or if you were a happy person, there would be no need for a getaway. You don’t need to getaway if you are happy.” She then referenced hotel and vacation advertisements that use the word “getaway.”

Now, I am not fully sure of her understanding of a getaway and the purpose that it serves for most people, but on the surface; it sounded (at least to me) as if she was confusing people who are in an unhealthy situation who are always talking about one day getting away from a certain situation, with people who have a natural desire to simply want to getaway to a different place to broaden their horizons.

adult, book, business

I thought to myself that this was probably the most least profound thing that she could have said. Especially being a motivational public figure… (that’s the title individuals give themselves when they have a lot of followers on twitter) LOL

It’s not always about “getting away” from something you don’t like. And just because you take a vacation, (A Getaway: a place suitable for a vacation; a vacation especially of brief duration) doesn’t mean it’s so that you can leave a life behind that you hate. A getaway is just relaxing. For some, it’s therapeutic. For writers, it’s inspiring to have a change of scenery. Sometimes you just want the adventure of exploring new sights, sights unseen… going to unusual places because you cannot live in 100 places all at once.

Who doesn’t need a break from time to time anyway? Are you telling me that you can never go to enjoy the fruits of your labor because if you do, it means you hate your life? If you can show me someone who says they don’t want or need a getaway, I will show you a liar.

But for now, I digress. I would rather balance the universe by stating that it’s perfectly OK to want to getaway. It absolutely does not mean that you are unsatisfied with your life. It means that you are open to discovering the world and that you are realistic about the common day to day life that invites the idea of wanting a break to enjoy the other side of your front door.

The Who What When Where and Why that you may want to concern yourself with

Woman Wearing Grey Jumpsuit Standing Beside Brown Metal Gate

When, Where & What:

In the spirit of being our own constant reminder that we are valuable, purposeful and destined for greatness, we must have what I refer to as a safe space. A safe place can be of physical form (a park, a body of water, your closet, a hobby) or mental form (meditation through yoga or being still) and it is a place that you retire to in any moment where you feel torn apart, broken, stagnant, confused, hurt, defeated, berated and belittled in your life. It’s a place where you go to find peace, relax, relate and release through talking out loud, thinking things through, practicing breathing techniques, being alone to recharge or rejuvenate, calm down and re-center yourself to emerge like the phoenix.

Woman Wearing Gray Short-sleeved Shirt at Daytime

Why:

The reason we must cultivate an atmosphere in our lives for such a space/place to exist is because if we rely on someone to do this for us, they may not be available for us one day. Not because they don’t want to be, but perhaps because they can’t be for one reason or another. (They are sick themselves, going through and processing their own set of issues, on a trip, extended vacation, at work, not able to talk, in their own safe place where they cannot invite the troubled of the world in while they are taking time to themselves. etc.)

While you are there, you must keep in mind the importance of your health and well-being, being the single most important thing for your survival.

Photo of Woman Holding Her Lips While Sitting

Also keep in mind that this place does not replace the need to talk to another individual who may be able to aid and offer guidance to us through our troubles, along with perspectives, advice and wisdom. It’s merely a place that we can rely on, in the absence of that individual that will sustain us. In my Christian Faith, they will say… it’s where you “have a little talk with Jesus.” This conversation transpires internally. Reach deeply within, where that seed of faith is and nourish it. This is where your confidence, safety and security rest. Bring it back to the forefront in this time and trust yourself with your life. Knowing that you can and will overcome these thoughts and situations which have tried to steal your joy and seal your fate.

Shifting Gears completely on the WHO:

Who:

We cannot allow the people who are around us to constantly tear us down, beat up down, bring us down, push us down and keep us down. Sometimes we must rise above, by cutting those people off who are wired with “fuggery” (in my Redd Foxx voice) as they have no good intentions. This is all stuff that we know but just need to speak it, hear it or be reminded of it from time to time.

You are headed in a direction where those people cannot go, so again I say THEY WILL NOT UNDERSTSAND AND YOU HAVE TO STOP EXPLAINING IT OR TRYING TO PROVE YOURSELF.

Woman Wearing Orange Pullover Hoodie Sitting on Chair's Arm

Sometimes growth is forced upon you and it requires you to move out of a place where people are keeping you down. They are not in your shoes. No one is saying that you are to walk around with delusions of grandeur, but it is ok to feel that you are moving in a direction that someone else is not equipped to go, based on the things they are doing to you. It’s ok to say that you are better than your circumstance. It is ok to say that you are not about a life where you constantly seek approval through proving yourself to the people around who don’t believe you anyway. And it’s perfectly ok to know that you are better than people who constantly live in a state of jealousy, envy, spite and malice. You are not that person and you don’t understand them just as they don’t understand you. This is what makes you “different” perhaps if not better. Its ok to have the revelation that for what you are trying to do and where you are headed does not allow for people like that.

Woman With Black-and-white Sweater With Pants Sitting on Black Leather Sofa Beside Red Painted Wall

Stop looking back:

Sometimes people reach out just to be nosey. And because we have this natural desire to stay connected or to remain “loyal” to our roots, (old friends) we reach back with a response. However, their intention is just to make sure you are not doing better than them. It’s to get an “update” on your life so that they will have something to talk about. It’s not a sincere concern to see how good you are doing and it’s not to motivate, encourage or to inspire. Toxic people reach out when they know you are doing better but they want to say something to you that will have you doubting yourself. It has nothing to do with you. They are dealing with where they are in life and because they are not happy about that, they want to bring you down. And sometimes their contacting you, is to give you an update on themselves because they need to feel sufficient. Again, nothing to do with you. It’s their insecurities.

It happens. It happened to me recently. Someone asked me a personal question. I answered it – even after answering, they took that opportune time to slide in an unsolicited assumption on what they thought the truth was and completely ignored the answer I gave because they were determined to take that jab. This tells me that they have been sitting around worrying about what I am doing and had already come to their own conclusion which was more satisfying to their state of misery. When they heard a truth different from what they presumed, because they are conditioned the way they are which is anchored in an ugly spirit; they insisted on with their assumption. This was something that they just had to get out, in order to feel better about themselves.

People will question what you do because it seems so impossible for them or it’s not possible for them from where they are standing.  This is a sign that you are entertaining the wrong group of people and when you are doing that, you cannot be living your best life.

Woman Wearing Black Sleeveless Top With Green Hardtail Bicycle at the Back

Sometimes people force on you the feeling that you should show and prove something to them and that shouldn’t be your burden. It’s not your lot in life to make miserable people happy. If someone asks you something and your answer is yes, but they say no it’s not … just say OK. If they say you are anything other than what you know you are, just say ok, walk away and cut them off. They have shown you who they are, and it is now your responsibility to take charge of what you allow and accept in your life. If they say anything at all that speaks against who you are- you absolutely must know that this is the point where you cross the bridge without them.

Why even entertain this kind of mind trash OR this trash can individual? Wish them well and keep it moving. Be selfish in your right to move through life without carrying with you those people who do not mean well.

Generally speaking, “People will second guess the truth and wouldn’t think twice about a lie” so you can not stop to address every, single thing that a person has said, heard or thought about you. Leave it alone.

Temporary Orders, Long Term effects

….When everything you said, has come to pass. My mentor led me to make this discovery. This is the last of 3 articles I will share this evening that I came upon which I had written a while back, as it related to what was transpiring in my life. As much as you try to run from your story sometimes you are led back to it for the sake of leading someone else out.  I just hope the microphone is on now!
Temporary orders, long term effects

October 31, 2013
Raise your hand if you are fed up with going back and forth to court to handle minuscule issues that any competent adult should be able to handle. Keep your hand up if you feel that you should be able to make decisions about the well-being of your child. Put your hand down if you would like the courts to continue to dictate when you can or cannot see your child. By the hands that are still raised, I can safely say that we have all grown tired of having a middle man between us and the children we gave birth to.

Though we have modern science, technology and research; no one other than a mother can explain what she goes through during the pregnancy process to the birthing process and how it may change her chemical balance. She is naturally attached to something that was once inside of her body as an egg. Her body grew to accommodate the growth of a fetus as it turned into a newborn baby. If you are like me, you breastfed, which created even more of an attachment or bond because you know that baby relied on you for food and nourishment. The bond that you were building was a bond that your child was creating as well. You became known as mommy. To your infant/toddler, you were the one who rubbed his head, feet and legs, held his hand, kissed his cheek and showed affection. You are the one who rubs his tummy when he has gas and gives him his warm baths. You place him on your chest and rub his back as he fell asleep in your arms. You are the reason he doesn’t have to worry about anything. You are his protector and you wouldn’t let anything happen to him. You held his hands as he began to walk and dusted him off each time he fell. You encouraged him to get up and try it again. You rewarded him with a kiss.

How does it feel to be a puppet of the court and have someone who knows nothing about you, your upbringing, house whole values and moral system; order you on how to parent? How do you feel about having someone who could care less about your child, tell you when you are to spend time and how much time you can spend when your child lives in the same city? What if I told you that the same judicial system that is potentially screwing up your child’s life right now, will be the same judicial system that throws him in jail one day and wonder where the parents went wrong? I am going to reach here and say that no one would be ok with this except the deadbeat parent. That is the parent who does not think about the temporary orders that may have a long term effect.

Constantly changing your child’s environment and toggling between household do not give your child a sense of belonging. And so, at an early age; he develops anti-social behavior, he withdraws, does not know how to fit in or feels like he doesn’t fit in. He is not able to find a place of security and stability. He is caught between bickering parents whether it’s one sided or two sided and it’s unhealthy. He’s confused, does not understand, and he’s not able to call any place home, or even get comfortable enough to just be at peace. The seed of not belonging grows inside of him and you get a child who tends to act out. You can’t even discipline this behavior because it truly comes from a genuine place of confusion. The deadbeat parent does not consider this. They do not realize the damage that they are doing to their children.

My child was recently taken from my home for absolutely no reason other than his deadbeat father wanted to settle a score of not paying child support. With the Hook Line and Sinker approach, he was able to convince just enough people that my child should be with him. Keep in mind, he wanted me to abort my child, didn’t show up for the first 8 months of his life and wasn’t much of a father when he finally did show up. Because he is not able to see past child support, he cannot think about the long term effects that he is causing by removing my child from the only home he has ever known.

For instance, when my child left he was potty trained. He’s been on sole care of his father for 3 months and in that amount of time his father has managed to UN do everything I have done in the name of my child. I received a message a few days ago that my child has a diaper rash. I am wondering, how in the hell does a child 2 months short of three years old have a diaper rash. Simple: He still wearing diapers or pull-ups. Not only that but he’s obviously wetting himself and not being changed. How can he not understand what is happening. Why is my child wearing pull-ups? Why is he not going to the potty? And most importantly, why in Jesus name is someone neglecting to change him regularly if they are going to have him in pull-ups. Why would his father leave him in the care of such a negligent daycare (children’s lighthouse, Copperfield) my child has completely reversed in progress. His behavior pattern has also been affected, his sleep time his schedule has totally been altered. I’ve video-taped my child at daycare as well as spoke to the teacher about his progress. In a recorded conversation she expresses concern as well as explains how he acts out to the point that she has to keep him separated from other children. Among other things, this, something his father would totally deny. Denying is not helping our child. I have the recording. Again, a temporary order that may cause long term effects. Lying about your child’s progress just to cover up the facts about how he’s really adjusting does not help your children.

Any mother or father who interferes with custody for no reason, is a deadbeat. The only exception to this is of it is completely unhealthy for the child and it is proven not just said. I hate bitter parents. Those are usually the ones who become deadbeats. They are not satisfied with the way a relationship ended so they take it out on the child.

My child’s father has abruptly interrupted the bond that my child had with me as well as his life. This change came drastic to my child and was literally overnight. I cannot understand how he does not notice or even care that it is happening. I continue to pray for my child and that he is able to deal with this change, but I know this time is extremely hard for him. I absolutely hate to know my child is going through this. 

Dear Honey Bunches of Oats

…….. The following was written in October of 2013. It was a pretty trying time for me. It was an open letter to my son pinned on my blog at the time and shared on Shutterfly. As I found it today and reflected upon the words that were written, I could not help but to think about what is unfolding in his life today. It makes me happy that I jotted it down at that time way back in 2013 when it was fresh and sincere. Resonates so much today, seeing how he is going through some of the things he is going through. I pasted it below without edits because it was written exactly how I would want it read to this day.

…..Is something so massive you can’t get it out of your head, though you bury it or make repeat efforts; by which only cause you to suffer in silence if suppressed. I choose mental health instead, and wish so many others would. Truth is the only anecdote. The truth for me was giving birth to you- a beautiful gift from GOD and beauty for ashes! The only way I can be here for you, is to be here for me. I have to be well in order for you to be well. I know that hiding the truth will not keep you protected- it would only materialize later in forms of confusion and conflict. I would never be the conductor of that train wreck! This is why I fight for you!

The truth is what you can’t get over, under or around. It’s what GOD is and since you were made in his image and likeness – you are the truth. You are what cannot not be hidden. You represent facts that are not acknowledged, often ignored and for some… Who want to pretend your existence is based on anything else, you are still here.

Let’s start with your name. Deon ‘ Cornelius’ Kenny. It was the name given to you at birth, and is on your original birth certificate. Your first name is my middle name, but spelled more masculine. Mine is Dionne. Your middle name came from a man. That man is your grandfather. It is his middle name as well. It is the bridge between your mother and her father by which your existence of a real man came through to sustain your last name, as Kenny. He was the ONLY male figure you knew about while I was carrying you. He is my dad and your grandfather. When you were born, he held you as you were his because you are his blood line. He stepped in to make sure you had a positive role male model, and an example of a man and a father as well as to nurture you as a boy.

You were born into a fight and unfortunately you have been used as collateral by a court empowered by your biological father. The things he told me during the time of your conception were quite different from what he was telling everyone around him, leaving them all surprised when I announced I was pregnant. As a result, lies compounded into a volcano. That volcano is erupting and evil is the lava. I refuse to allow you to be burned! I will extinguish it through prayer and the truth.

Your conception was not by two unwilling parties who knew nothing about what was going on. Instead, it was two very well, highly educated, adults and professionals who equally played a part in your conception. Your father, being in healthcare knows how babies are made. There were no secrets nor hidden agendas nor force that brought you here by me. Your father and I knew the possibility of you coming to exist when we took part in our estranged encounter. He was very aware and informed of the consequence that may prevail.

While this is truth, he expected me to terminate the pregnancy as if an abortion was birth control. With his trail if deception creeping upon his life that would expose truth, he panicked. His mother, your grandmother later asked why is it that I decided to have you. The insinuation that I had any other choice after you were already a fetus, uttered evil. Those words still sting. They linger like untreated cancer. They could have been fatal. However, because I was strong and supported by my mom, dad and sisters as well as close friends; you never had to feel that sting. I have protected you from day one and always will. However, I will not hide the truth from you.

Many things have taken place since your birth that would kill the average person. However, I’m not average and so I still exist. I exist to continue to give you the best of me and praise GOD for your existence. God sees, hears and knows all even that which is not said. Even with the possibility of two potentially different perceptions or perspectives, the truth is what it is and two people for certain know exactly what that is! Something about the truth is, people like to bury it. But you can’t when it’s alive. You can’t act like it didn’t happen, by covering it up with deceptive lies about how it happened. All I hope to instill upon you, son, is the truth about why things are happening the way they are.

If you do not see me, it is not because I don’t want to see you. When you can’t wake up to my kisses, read a book with me, watch your favorite program, eat rice, play in the park and ride your blue bike; it’s not because I don’t want you to. When I can’t tuck you in and sing “Yes, Jesus loves you”, or teach you how to write your name and count to one hundred, it’s not because I don’t want to. When I can’t bathe you, dress you, comb your hair, and love on you like I always have, it is not because I don’t want to. If I can’t take you to the Circus, Lego festival, kids museum, children’s expo, or play in the water, go swimming and to the library, and expose your senses to all the fun and educational thing life has to offer; it’s not because I wanted to stop. Don’t let anyone tell you that ever AGAIN. If I can’t teach you where all the continents are on your favorite globe, take you to the wonders of the world and play Elmo hands, or sing the wheels on the bus, and read to you your children’s bible, It’s certainly not because I requested not to. If I can’t play your favorite DVD while riding in the car, dance with you to your favorite tune with the Disney car boom box, or play the guitar and keyboard, or show you the functions of your leap frog and other V-Tech stations; I did not ask to stop. If we can’t sit at your table in your room and have circle time learning colors, shapes and sounds like we’ve always done, know that I miss it too. If we can’t play hiding seek, peek- a-boo, Simon says and abracadabra; I am imaging the times that we did. If you cannot ride your fleet of cars down the street while laughing at me chase you to turn the wheel, walk to the mailbox, prank call nana and papa Kenny, and wear your rain boots while the sun is shining; I won’t do it without you. While we can’t sit in the closet and practice tornado drills and watch the homedics machine project images of fish creatures in the dark, or jump upstairs while you are on my back; we will soon!

If I can’t continue to provide you with the stable, loving and nurturing environment, that I always have while you have been sick or well—know that I had NO part in that change. Your home will always be right here on Story Book Trail. The rest, I know you will figure out. You were conceived on March 17th 2010 and I haven’t forgotten one detail since then. Should you ever have questions, I will only give you the truth.

The Dying Art Of Courting And What you Think It Cost

bench-couple-love-people

A male friend reached out to me recently and asked for suggestions on what to do with his new- found girlfriend. He shared that they met while attending a food summit somewhere up in the Wine Country a few weeks ago. Geez, now why didn’t anyone tell me about all that fun going on? Anyhow, I knew right away that food and wine would be a part of what I’d suggest, because I already had insight on what she enjoyed. However, beyond the obvious I wanted to share with him other suggestions which wouldn’t cost a fortune, as he’d expressed that he was interested in this young lady and that he wanted to make an impression, but one that he could hold to as time rolled on.

As he raved on about this young lady, he asked how to show her that he was interested in her. Well, aside from simply telling her, I suggested he make it known of course first, just by reiterating it. Guys sometime get discouraged in doing this one very important thing because they don’t want to seem like the weakest link. They don’t want to chase, as they have sincerely confused this term with its ugly fraternal twin know as, “running after.” (Let that sit) What they forget is the dying art of courting. And to pursue, is to chase.

When you are interested in falling and having them fall with you so that you can rise together, you just tell her that you are interested. When she reciprocates in letting you know that she is interested as well, by accepting your advances for a 2nd and 3rd date…. There’s nothing wrong with looking deeply into her eyes and telling her that she has an amazing smile and that you truly do enjoy getting to know and knowing her. It doesn’t cost you anything to do this.

Man and Woman Sitting on Bench

Showing your interest in someone does not take fine dining, exotic trips and wild adventures from week to week. Not at first anyway, and it’s not a habit you want to form when you can’t finance it. Those are luxuries that some can afford from week to week, when they have the time and finances. However, you can show your interest in other ways while at the same time, determining if this is a relationship that you can handle and want to continue to pursue.

Communication: In courting a woman, you are courting her mind as well. I would tell my friend just like I would tell any man who asks, once you’ve established between the two of you that you want to be in a relationship, beyond that it’s building. You are constantly building and hopefully toward a common goal…and depending on what that is, you establish boundaries. IE: Is this an exclusive relationship? What are your intentions? Where would you like this relationship to go? Otherwise, I think it’s counterproductive to say that you want to be in a relationship where you are building together- if you don’t want a future together. So, the objective in the relationship during the building process should be to get to know one another on a level which would help you understand one another better and determine if the goal you started with, can be fulfilled in staying together.

You could compare this to an employer/employee relationship where benefits are equal upon entering an agreement for employment. Probationary period is followed by a commitment to hire. Once employer demonstrated loyalty to their employee and vice versa, the relationship grows into the next level. Pretty soon, your entry level title turns into tenure. You are making an investment in each other, providing benefits, perks and incentive.

How does this translate in dating? When you invest in a woman with conversation, understanding, commitment and loyalty, in exclusively dating her, she will make you a great return on that investment.

What You do to get her: Yes, what you do to get her you will have to do to keep her is a very valid statement. As this pertains to material things, I mentioned that it is not wise to start something you cannot keep up with. (A drastic change in financial status is the exception) And a woman whom you have made the above investments in will understand. In Application: You want to be careful while you’re trying to impress/make an impression, not to make the wrong impression by doing something you can’t do, if your intent is to pursue something long-term. (Another exception here are those once and twice in a lifetime type ventures… yes, you can knock off extravagant bucket list items together and have an understanding that this is not something you will be doing often) But most importantly, if you attract her by opening doors for her-you need to keep this up.

adventure, Black Woman, boy

While you are getting to know her, you are paying attention to the things she talks about… if you are listening, you will hear her tell you everything. When you show up with a white Carnation over a red rose, she knows that you heard her when in regular conversation she expressed that she’s the type of girl who prefers carnations over roses. That’s impressive – because she now knows that you have a vested interest in learning about her.

Those luxurious trips etc. will come over time… in building. There’s no need to take someone on a $10k vacation when you know it will take your life savings and could be over when you return, because while on the trip with someone you just met 2 months ago, you realized yawl were worlds apart on what you want in life.

Get an understanding of all these things beforehand. That’s what dating, and courting is. It’s doing the things that you will be consistently doing. Its’ showing someone what they are signing up for. Now if you can afford the $10k vacays week to week and keep that up if the relationship transpired beyond the next 6 months then more power to ya. Don’t try to compete with the next man. If someone else can do for her something that you can’t, and it’s something that she requires, and she tends to lean toward, you need to be paying attention. It doesn’t make her a bad person, it just means that she’s not right for you or may not be right for you right now.

Adore her

Hold hands/ Forehead kiss/stare in eyes not face/write her letters

Show her respect/be respectful in private and public places

Be playful with her/ Laugh, joke & match humor

Walk close together/Go out together/ Take her to the Park/ Take her to the Lake

Play ANY sport together

Go to the Gym together

Open EVERY door EVERYTIME

Protect her/ give her your jacket when she’s cold/ keep her safe/ comfort her

Attend the Family get together and outing, together

Have Cookouts at your home together/ cook for her

All, are Things that won’t cost a fortune to maintain in the dating/courting process

The girl who appreciates these things is the type of girl who treasures the connection, the bonding, the quality time, the love and the chemistry more than being able to take your credit card and go to the mall. She would rather you be there with her to relish in the excitement together. Sure, she likes wonderful things and won’t turn down a gift, but she would choose to have you with her if it boiled down to having to choose one over the other.

She wants your love, not your money. She wants your time, not your gifts. She wants your presence not your presents. She wants your company not your absence. She doesn’t need you to validate her, she needs you to validate the relationship – She wants you to initiate and show her that you know how to lead…she wants your commitment.

Something For Moms Everywhere

I was searching for the words over the weekend to share something that I was not sure if I should even share at all. Then, the more I thought about it the more it became clear to me that I had to. Because sometimes the very thing thing we went through, are the very things that someone else is going through. This is the time that we may have a word, which may help and assist someone else who’s going through something similar, even if just by letting them know that they are not alone.

As mothers, we are often criticized when we take on careers outside of being a housewife or a stay at home mom. Sadly, this criticism comes from other women and mothers sometimes. Even more sad, it can come from people that we are close to or share a past with.

These careers may come with the requirement of travel, where you are away for up to a 2-weeks period. It may come with the requirement of attending weekly events or conferences and being out until 10 P.M. on some evenings reporting on them (if you are in journalism) It may require that you have an after-school program in place for your child to attend, as you are not able to pick him/her up from school every-day. It may require moving away altogether, when the situation is that you are a mom with a portion of responsibilities that require you to accept work out of town, to meet the terms of those responsibilities.

For some 1930’s reason, there are many people who still think that women who do not stay at home with their children or are not able to be with their children everyday are less than worthy of being called a “good mom” whether it was by their own choosing or force through minimal options available which would have otherwise allowed them to stay at home with their children all the time.

Perhaps we should examine the meaning of the phrase “good mom”

Does she love and care for her child? Does she show and tell her child that she loves him/her? Does she provide for her child? Does she show her child that she has a vested interest in his education and success? Does she teach her child right from wrong? Does she instill values in her child and build moral? Does she support her child in ways that show her child that she is devoted to his/her mental and emotional needs? Does she feed her child and make sure he/she is eating healthy? Does she clothe her child and make sure he/she is clean and groomed? Does she listen to her child? Does she engage in bonding activities with her child?

So, she does all the above, but she happens to also work.

Does her child have an age appropriate understanding of why his/her mother works and that mom must work, to continue to provide the most basic thing that he/she need for survival? IE: Food. What about shelter? She must provide that as well, right? What about the things that go into that shelter and the things that are needed to maintain that shelter, such as electricity, gas and water. What about the additional things that are needed for the child, such as Shoes and Clothes. What about all that fun stuff he/she wants to do on the weekend? IE: The Movies, The Trampoline Park, Chuck-E-Cheese?

So, again… she has done all of this and makes it clear to her child as she re-iterates the importance of her having to work. Wouldn’t you say that’s a pretty good mom? If theability to do all of these things exist, and are being done…. I’d say she’s nailing this mom thing.

So why is it that people only concern themselves with the “picture” or the “image” of a good mom only being one that is with her child every day? What does it mean when someone says that you are “not there for your child” when you are doing all the above?Sidebar -RE: Divorced Parents – Have you factored in the naked truth that when a child is assigned to live primarily with one parent, it can be relatively impossible for the other parent to physically be there every day? And that is far from saying that someone is not there for their child, when they aren’t being allowed to. I think this is something that parents, men and women, should consider, as well as those who are judging the situation.

What I think people in the world often do to one another that is so wrong, is that they make you feel forced to make them understand why you have made every decision you have made in your life. Your responsibility is not to make them understand. But if it doesn’t make sense to them or if they “think” they would have done something differently, they can’t accept it. It’s unfortunate, because the way that they deal with the inability to understand is then to criticize.

This is what I say to mothers and career women: You should not consume yourself with trying to appease everyone with an explanation about why you have chosen to live your life the way that you are living it. It’s your story for a reason and everyone will not understand that. You may be on a different path than they are. You have a separate set of circumstances. Your destiny is not the same as everyone around you, and so your journey will not be the same.

Whether you are a stay at home mom, a career mom, a mom who does it all, a recently divorcee, a mother who’s going through the most trying time in her life… don’t let anyone tell you that you are a bad mother for doing something differently from what they would have done.

1. Don’t allow people to steal your joy by making you feel guilty about the healthy decisions that you have made in your life.

2. Don’t be afraid to take that job, embark on a new career which may require travel. People are going to have something to say, regardless. (If you did not work, they would talk about that too)

3. You are not leaving your child. You are a great mother. You are a mother who is making yet another sacrifice for your child. You have demonstrated this to the one person who matters… your child.

4. Don’t set expectations high for anyone to see this. People will discourage you. They will try to break you down. They will tell you that you are wrong. They will judge you.

5. Don’t be afraid to love and be loved. Don’t feel guilty about loving or being loved. Sometimes people will not applaud this. It won’t sit well with people who are not rooting for you to love or be loved.

But for everyone that is telling you that you wrong, there are more that will tell you that you are right. Sometimes in putting your child first, you must make that move. You must cultivate a healthy life so that you are healthy for your child and so that you can consistently provide a healthy environment for him/her.

I absolutely loved the time I was able to stay at home with my child even though I was a single mother. I chose assignments that did not require me being away from him at all. I chose assignments where I could bring him along with me. I incorporated mommy-hood/parent-hood into my career. But those were the options I had at that time in my life. As your child gets older, things change. The need to change his diaper every 4 hours dies out. The need to warm his bottle, rock him to sleep, and feed him will begin to fade. As the need to do those things dissipate, the need to do more will materialize. His needs are different, so quite naturally we adjust with the times to ensure that those new needs are being met. My child is older now and in school, he’s more independent and able to speak for himself. If we are maximizing the time that we do have with our children in loving them, caring for them and supporting them, we are all good mothers. You are a GREAT MOTHER.