Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships, Travel, Uncategorized

Why Moving Out Of My Home Was Bitter Sweet and Why My New Situation Is Sweet As Pie

I moved into my home, in the Sienna Plantation Subdivision of Sugarland, Texas; in April of 2012. I had every intention of making it home for at least the following 5 years. I wanted a place for my son to grow, to call his own and to run around with all the freedom a One-Year old could want. I wanted a community, where extra-curricular activities, in a family-oriented environment and a family-friendly neighborhood; were in plethora. I wanted the security of knowing that my son was in a safe neighborhood (as safe as it could be anyway – little to no crime) and in a home where he had a large backyard, to run wild in the grass. I thought of that land that our home sat on when I was in grade school, and how we could go outside in the backyard and have the time of our life, without being in harm’s way. I wanted this for my child.

I accomplished that when I picked out the house, April of that year. Even though the move was a sudden and quick move, only looking at two other homes before deciding on this one, I was completely satisfied. I found the house on a Friday and I had moved in within a week. When I looked at this house, I saw myself in the kitchen being able to see the entire backyard, as my child was playing outside.

As I walked through the downstairs, admiring the open kitchen and bar area, the entertainment living room, which had floor to ceiling windows that stretched over 16 feet, allowing natural light to illuminate the entire downstairs area; I settled at the fireplace. I gazed over the backyard, from corner to corner, while standing indoors, at the fireplace. The whole back of the home, was wide-open. I envisioned a flat screen TV above the fireplace, accompanied by fancy art, which would anchor both sides for symmetrical purpose. I am a person who often seek balance, and it penetrates each part of my life. The living room was just one. I fancied the idea of raw paintings, that would adorn the collar bones of the home.

The walls had yet to be painted. Just the way I like it… A blank canvas. I knew that I wouldn’t paint them either, because there’s something about the look of clean, white walls, throughout a wide-open home. I took noticed the multiple options that I had, for placement of family portraits and moments, which would be captured between my son and me, for the duration of our stay.

I moved beyond the living room, into the downstairs Master Bedroom, which had a window seat and another large, open window area. It was just the right size, just what I was used to. The Master-Bath was to my liking, as well as the walk-in closet that would support alllll the clothes, shoes and purses that I would be bringing. From there, I moved throughout the breakfast area and dining room, just before heading upstairs. Once upstairs, on the catwalk, I had a choice to go left or right to decide which room would suit my son. But I took a pause, for that breath-taking moment, as I looked down, over the living area. The tall windows allowed me to see beyond the fence in the backyard, into the bayou. The privacy was just what I needed.

I took the right… Headed right to the room that I knew would be perfect for the little one. It was just off the open play area, where if I were downstairs in the living room, I could look up and see him always. The other side of the house, seated two additional bedrooms and a full-sized bath. So, there I was. 4 bedrooms, large walk-in closets, plenty of room, open kitchen, entertainment living-room, dining area, breakfast area, large laundry, open floor plan with lots of natural light, large, fenced-in backward, 2 car garages and the home was located at the end of the street, last house in the circle… on Story Book Trail. I was good. I was home.

Fast forward 5 years later, after I had hung my coat, and settled in over the years, making this home my resting place; I wondered through some old photos. It reminded me of the first day that I moved in. I sat in that timeless moment of nostalgia. I cried, I laughed, I danced. I thought about the reality of it being March 2017, and how the close of my custody trial had also brought a close to my story, on Story Book Trail. I would be moving out of the home in a week. I needed to get away. I thought about some not so great moments that happened in the home, which caused me to view to home a little differently, 1-year into being there. I loved the home, but shortly after I moved in and only after I revealed my address, some random acts of vandalism began to occur. At that moment, I wanted out of the house, but I had to make the best of the unpleasant situation and remain put, until the time was right to leave.

I was getting so much negative energy about being able to live in such a lovely home, (how could she afford it, that’s not her home, who’s paying for her home, it must be a rental or did she purchase it, she doesn’t have a job, she needs to get a job). (And the best one of all, “she’s using child support money to pay for it” ALTHOUGH, I wasn’t getting child support, I was paying child support) and all of this was creating a ball of hate, which was beginning to grow legs, arms, eyes and vicious teeth. It was hovering over my life unwarranted. It was crawling through my home, disturbing my peace. It was killing the spirit of joy throughout the walls of my home. Every time I looked around, something else was occurring.

It was almost like watching an apple decay. A beautiful apple, turning from red to black. From plump, to a soft and fetal position. A series of events were tarnishing my home. From break ins while I was out of town, to tampering with my phone lines and security systems, to people showing up disguised as delivery services and phone company representatives, who only wanted to get inside my home to plant wires… to the home being rummaged through while I was away. Even installing a security system didn’t work, because through the phone lines and my computer, my space had been invaded, violated and my privacy was destroyed.

But then I thought to myself, this is the 5th year, and all that I had planned for. Everything that was pushing me away from that home, was pushing me into the direction of something so much greater. I did not understand while it was happening. But I understand it now. I understood it while I was packing up and getting ready for greater. I had my last dance with the home, entertaining my son and his friends as they ran about outside, playing in water wars and washing the cars. I had my last rendezvous with the home the last night over a bottle of wine. I had my last affair with the home as I sat in the soaker. I walked the home corner to corner, as I had done when I moved in, taking in all the precious moments that were spent there- from room to room. I sat in each room and prayed. I walked upstairs and downstairs closing all the doors, as you would, a book once finished. I turned off all the lights, disconnected all services, closed all the blinds and locked the door for the last time. I was smiling and I never looked back, as I drove away.

Had I moved, prior to the season for me to move, I would be in a repeat situation. I am convinced, that it was by purpose, that I remained in that house until all the court hoopla came to a head, where I was then able to move at my leisure, unbothered and unfollowed. GOD is still good.

“There is always a sign that Precedes the move of GOD” That was the sound of those doors locking, one last time. That was the sound of me driving away from Story Book Trail, as that story was over.

Walking out of the house, I could hear only “One Sound.” That was the sound of “The Anthem” featuring Gospel Singer, William Murphy and the Full Baptist Church. Halleluiah, you have won the victory. You have won it all for me. Death could not hold you down, you are the risen king, seated in majesty, you are the risen King! I am grateful that GOD kept me in the valley, hid me from the rain… forever, he will reign.

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Lifestyle, Parenting, Travel, Uncategorized

Here’s 5 Things Anyone Can Do When They Are Bored

Here’s 5 Things Anyone Can Do When They Are Bored

Play Sudoku – Don’t sleep on Sudoku puzzles. It has become one of the games that I play, which makes the time go by fast. It really is a fun game, but I must warn you, you will get hooked.

Sudoku is one of the most popular puzzle games of all time. The goal of Sudoku is to fill a 9×9 grid with numbers so that each row, column and 3×3 section contain all the digits between 1 and 9. As a logic puzzle, Sudoku is also an excellent brain game. If you play Sudoku daily, you will soon start to see improvements in your concentration and overall brain power

The popular Japanese puzzle game Sudoku is based on the logical placement of numbers. An online game of logic, Sudoku doesn’t require any calculation nor special math skills; all that is needed are brains and concentration.

If you have an iPhone, there are three games I would recommend when sitting in hospital waiting areas or hair and nail salons, waiting for your number to be called. 8-Ball, 9-Ball, Anagrams and Word Hunt. For the same reason of jump starting and getting that blood to flow, word hunt and anagram is great.

8-Ball is real entertaining, if you do not really know how to play pool. It’s an uncomplicated way to learn, as its electronic and allows you to line up your cue and bank any shot. Well, with a few misses of course, but after a few games, you’ll get the hang of it.

Send a Post Gram – Who doesn’t love a greeting card, just because. You can download the Postgram App  for convenience, and after creating and customizing a post card to send to family, friends, and/or business associates, to remind them that you are still in business, Post Grams by Sincerely Inc. sends to U.S. Canada and Europe.

I worked as a Realtor for 10 years in Texas. During this time and even today, post cards were the number one seller at the marketing company I worked for. That is because Realtors realized the importance of maintaining contact with prospects, future home buyers and even those whom they have sold a home to before. Postcards remind people of what you do. “I sell houses” “I am an Estate Manager” “I am a Loan Officer” “I am a Chef” “I am a Landscaper” “I’m an Interior Decorator” ETC., Except be creative in how you remind them: “Wanted to wish you a Happy Tuesday, from your local Real Estate Agent” …” Greetings, hope you enjoy the Spring ahead. Don’t forget to Spring forward” …” A little reminder from your local Bake Shop” …

Even if it is not a business that you are running, you can always send a greeting card to people for no reason at all, just to say hello. Postgram is something that you can do right from the comfort of your home, on your cell phone. You never have leave the house. It’s not an email greeting card. It’s an actual plastic post card that will be delivered by mail to the recipient. It takes 5 minutes or less.

Organize and Clean – I used to manage a retail store called Just for Feet, way back when they were opened of course. This was in the late 90’s. I remember overhearing my District Manager tell one of the associates that if there is time to lean, there is time to clean. That stuck with me over the years, and so I made use of all my idle time, just by thinking of him saying that.

If you are home, or work, bored with nothing to do (and you don’t need rest) waiminute, when don’t we need rest as mothers? Ok… anyway, when and if a time comes where you do not need another second of rest, and you need to do something; tackle that junk drawer in the kitchen. We all have one.

Organize the kitchen pantry so that you will stop buying things you already have but just couldn’t find it. Clean out the refrigerator, there’s no use for that 10-day old lasagna that you said you were going to eat, 9 days ago.

Tackle and declutter that closet that you have been telling yourself that you don’t have time to do. You’d be amazed how much you can get done and surprised at the fact that you got it done, once you get started and just take your time. Section it off so that it is not so overwhelming. Focus on one part at a time. It’s not a marathon, so if you get tired just take a break. Pop on some music to get you excited about completing a task around the house.

Fold those clothes that are in the wash room sitting in that basket. You’ve already taken them out of the dryer. Why are they still in the basket?

Wash your car – may be a little hot at hi-noon to do this one. However, if it is in the evening that you find yourself bored, this would be something to do. Even if you’re used to taking it to the car wash, or having the kids do it… try doing it yourself one that when you have nothing to do. If the kids are home, help them with it. It saves you the money of having to drive it to a hand wash and detail center. It’s really a fun thing to do in the summer time with the kids anyway. If you are a single mom, and there isn’t a man around, you’d really enjoy this with the kids. It’s a great bonding moment. My son loves to wash my car, even though he’s just 6- years old. When I help him, it becomes a game to him. We find ourselves in a water war and it has one of your most memorable moments for the scrapbook.

Learn something new – A moment to learn, is time well spent. If you want boredom to take a hike, get back to teaching yourself to be productive in the process. Utilize every moment to get back to yourself. If it is Law that you are interested in, or Baking, or Design, or even learning how to use social media for marketing your brand or product; use this time to get online to find all the answers to your questions. Maybe you have a relative that is facing some health issues. You can get online to research that and become informed on how to deal with it, or find ways of helping them deal with it. Knowledge never plays out.

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If you were looking for me— these are the words that would lead you to me: Super Single Mom, Mother, Mommy Moment, Parenting, Love…

If you were looking for me— these are the words that would lead you to me: Super Single Mom, Mother, Mommy Moment, Parenting, Love…

Google is a wonderful tool for not only looking up dates of past, present and future events, or finding the correct answer to some of our health-related questions. It’s a major source for locating people also. It’s as easy as plugging in a name and a few key words about the person, and you are then directed to their blogs, their newspaper clippings and even their company and affiliation with companies in a lot of cases. While google has been under scrutiny for the information that can be found, as it relates to privacy and security; it is not google who releases that information. Googled is like the holding cell, for all public information that was placed on line.

Do you remember the infamous line, “Google Me” said by Model Jessica White …on the once a hit reality show; The T.O. Show? The world fell out laughing, that someone said that out loud. We knew that we could just “Google’ someone, but it was not something that we wanted everyone to know that we were doing. However, the shame in that is a thing of the past. It is no secret that you will possibly be “Googled.” Employers do it now and so do potential suitors. Women have used it as much as Men, and it appears that men are leading the game in “googling” people. I am surprised at the amount of times a guy has mentioned, “Well, I saw on line that…” “I googled her and…such and such” Sorry to bust you guys, but it wasn’t a secret anyway. It’s ok. We know you want to know as well and you deserve to google us, just like we google you. Don’t be ashamed. It’s not really snooping when it’s all out there, right? Hummm…The Jury is still out on that.

Anyway, I became aware of the amount of times my name has been googled, as well as by who in some cases; with the help of sophisticated technology. It’s like LinkedIn. LinkedIn can tell you who’s viewed your profile, and so can Google, when plugged in to these pretty savvy apps and programs that allow for you to see this data. You are also able to gauge which words or phrases have been used to search for you, so that you can determine better usage of the tags you use for anything that you post online, you’re your intent is to drive traffic. It took some trial and error for me to learn all the ins and outs and it was a personal situation that drove me to become interested in finding out exactly how people were locating me and how they were finding certain things online. I had to self-teach myself a lot and it took a lot or reading and researching. It all paid off though, after about a year when I had everything I needed, to show that most of my traffic was driven from my Tumblr.

For no rhyme or reason, maybe the ghost followers thought it was the safest place to search and stay up to date, as Tumble lagged in providing their customers with this data. It’s not that it wasn’t available, it’s just that it had to be requested and there was a lot of red tape involved, for me to collect it from them.

I am a woman of many words and as described by Opposing Counsel once, “You do a great deal of writing, don’t you…” To which, I held my tongue for the sake of remaining in compliant with the court…but I wanted to say, “Yes, and you do a great deal of reading, don’t you?” The fact of the matter is, long as you are reading, I will be writing. I thank people like him, and other cyber bullies, ghost followers and stalkers; for driving traffic to my blogs, so I can’t be mad at him and I can’t help it that he stumbled upon some truths about himself, which he found to be offensive. It was something about the shoes he wore, which seemed to rattle his feathers and put his panties in a wad…I can’t really remember…

I’d say it today if it hadn’t already been said. And because I like to stay current, and avoid repeating the same things, and causing my audience to become board with redundant articles, I just wave at him from afar, as I see that he’s still reading. It’s nice to have fans.

I had to learn that over my 8 years in blogging. It really shouldn’t matter who’s viewing your public blog. That’s what you want, especially if it’s monetized. Views equal $$. So, I encourage you to keep reading. I encourage bloggers to keep blogging. I encourage writers to keep writing, and Journalist should keep reporting. You cannot worry about “being found” because “being found” is your best friend in the world of blogging, writing and reporting. Find your voice, so that they can find you.

With that, it has become ideal that I use the same tags and search words for all post and all articles I post anywhere, for easy finding, navigating and linking from site to site and blog to blog. It’s like a chain linked fence…the more links in your chain, the mo…. When I have special post like say, for Father’s Day, then of course I would add that tag, but I would still use all the other tags that I have been using that helps my audience and potential readers find me at any point online.

And last, the song “Here I go” by Mystikal comes to mind: “You looking for me” Well, some key words that are sure to lead you to my front door will be: Super Single Mom, Mother, Mommy Moment, Parenting and Love…

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Here’s My Highly Non-Recommended Diet And Exercise Plan Which Happens To, I Mean Which Use To Work For Me.

I’ve never been one to stick to a healthy diet or exercise program and I’m not a considered a healthy eater. I don’t consider myself to be in the best of shape, with regards to being able to run a mile without becoming winded quickly. With that said, It should be obvious that I am not fitness GURU. I just happen to know my body, and what works for me.

I remember being 30-years old, when I got away with eating little Debbie snack cakes every night, and a gallon of Gatorade. I’d exercise in the evenings, after work, doing a 3-5 mile run walk outside around the track, followed by a 2-3 mile run, on the treadmill. After that, another mile on the stationary bike. I was 5-feet 8-inches, weighing in at 115 lbs, at 30 years old. I gauged my size and growth by a pair of jeans that I wore in High School and College. If I could still fit them, I was doing good. If I couldn’t, then it was time to peel back. It was as simple as that. I was hell bent, on remaining the same size, and so when my eating sprees got out of control, my motivation was to get back into those jeans.

Yea, it’s true. I go on ice cream binges, fried food fiascos and red wine Soirees that will make the person standing next to me say WTF! And I’ve always been the topic of discussion when it came to eating unhealthy food and staying the same size.

UNTIL LATELY. This is what they mean when they say it will catch up with you. It tracked me down like an ex from college that I was hoping to never run into. It came to my front door, unannounced and was on my living room sofa before I could say Calgon take me away.

It happened so unexpectedly. 15 lbs in 5 months gripped my waist, hips and buttocks like the seat of a luxury vehicle does, when it locks you by the seat belt, after slamming on the brakes! What was I to do? Age 39, at my heaviest and biggest size in life. 145 lbs and rising….But I only weighed 150 at full term pregnancy, when I was 33-years old, just to put things into perspective. I was panicking now. Not because I was caught up in “image” and societal shaming of belly fat and love handles… but because I could not fit my 20-year old jeans, in a matter of 5 months.

Most importantly- it is you who must be O.K. with your size and weight, your image and your features. Your accents and all that make up the beautifulness that you behold. In my quest to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, it had nothing to do with anyone’s idea of my body or their opinions… but it has everything to do with how I wanted to see myself and what I want to look at when I look at myself in my own mirror. It has everything to do with what I find pleasing in my eyes when it comes to my very own body, and that is not a reflection of how I see anyone else who choose to be big, small, thick or thin. Hopefully when you go on your quest, you’ll do it for yourself as well, and not for anyone else.

But understand, my issue wasn’t with weight gain altogether. It was with “rapid weight gain.” My size is still good, considering my height and age…. but at this rate of weight gain, I could easily become the poster kid for many health-related conditions.

Many things contributed to my weight gain. Being home, and not being as active as I was before. I spent less time traveling and being away from the comfort of my bed. I was stressed over many issues surrounding the custody of my child, which kept me inside the house. I was running to the refrigerator every chance I got, for “something sweet to eat” just to pass time. I wasn’t shopping for healthy food any longer, as I did not have my child at home with me full time anymore.

After a visit to the doctor, I discovered I had issues with thyroid. I experienced a brief bout with pressure and a heart related concern, in which medication prescribed had a side effect of weight gain on top of that fact that I was also given a new medication for severe migraines and anxiety; which contributed to weight gain and my hormones were completely out of whack.

This is also why I would recommend that the first thing you do when you decide on any dieting and exercise regiment, to tackle weight gain or rapid weight gain, that you consult with your doctor first. You want to check your health by doing a temp check of the state of your body, so that you know if you’re fighting against something other than the fact that you can’t stop eating ice cream. It could be more. Address those issues, then you can find a diet that works best while addressing real underlying health concerns.

I had to think about it. All these things that I had come face to face with at 38-years old was new to me, coupled with the things I was voluntarily doing, which aided in weight gain. I realized that many of these issues I never faced before the age of 38, which is why I could eat the way I was eating. I lived a more active lifestyle then as well. If your lifestyle isn’t the same with regards to activities and health- you need to make a shift that tailors to the changes. You won’t be able to eat as much on less activity- or eat all day without exercising or watching calorie and fat intake.

So, where am I now? Well, I watch what I eat and I exercise daily. I stay away from scales. Scales are discouraging. I just look at myself until I like what I see. That may be at the same weight, but in more of a tone package. Same weight, with a healthier eating plan and a suitable workout plan that maintains health, weight and fitness goals. I have a note on my mirror that says, “Stand here until you like what you see” It’s like a Mantra of some sort, because it applies to anything related to esteem. When you look better, you feel better. When you feel better, you do better.

Lifestyle, Parenting, Uncategorized

3 Of My Sons Favorite Things To Eat And What I am Doing About It Because Frankly, I am Tired Of The Repeat

Have you ever heard the sound of a broken record playing? And if so, do you remember how you couldn’t get into the room quick enough to take the needle off the record? That is how I feel at dinner time these days, when it comes to feeding my 6-year old son. He’s a growing child, who needs to eat and as much as I care about his nutrition, it’s a challenge some nights to win. To my surprise, he is the one who is the cause of this broken record getting air time at the house. I thought he would be as tired as I am, about re-runs and threepeat meals.

It has nothing to do with that fact that I grew up eating chicken on what seems like was every night of the week, even though it wasn’t every night. Ok… who am I fooling? Yes, Yes. It has everything to do with that. I became tired of chicken as a child, and so, I can’t understand this phenomenon at my dinner table. Why would a child want the same thing, night after night, when he has choices? I guess when you like what you like, you just like it. Of course, this is not what keeps me awake at night, but should I be concerned? It’s not that he doesn’t like anything else, because I have witnessed him indulge in everything from BBQ to Pasta. But he doesn’t seem to want it anymore. He doesn’t seem to want a variety. Which is why………………….

I am even more tired of the following 3 Things That My Son Loves To Eat. Those things are: Rice, Macaroni and Cheese, and Mashed Potatoes. All of which find their way to my dinner table at least 4 nights per week, during extended periods. There’s only so many ways I can cook and prepare rice, even with there being variations of rice, such as: Long-Grained, Brown-Rice, White Rice, Spanish Rice, Dirty Rice, and Jasmine Rice. I am all cooked out of rice! I like rice, I just don’t want to eat so much of it during one week time.

I remember when my son ate everything as an infant and toddler. It made my life and decisions on dinner so much easier, to be able to pick whatever I wanted, and to know that he would eat. I cannot explain how my son grew out of eating, rather than to have grown into eating more and more of it. Is this normal? I remember when people used to tell me how lucky I am that my child would eat anything that I put in his face, and that most children his age were so difficult when it came to finding something that they like to eat. I miss those days. I miss them because now, it’s more work involved and lots of food that goes to the trash. Well, unless it’s rice, mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. rolls eyes because I do not want another grain of rice, nor another mac n cheese noodle and I could care less if I see another potato. Not to mention the amount of starch!

However, I did find some pretty awesome recipes online that made me second guess my decision to go on a rice, mashed potato and Mac n Cheese strike. See them below. Perhaps if you are in this dilemma as a mom, you can benefit in making something that you’ve never made before, with the food that your little one insist on having. Since rice is on the top of his list, I found a few recipes that were worth sharing- that I will try before giving it the final boot…..It’s coming though.

BAJA Black Beans, Corn and Rice: Serving size 6 Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients: 6 cups cooked brown rice 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 (15 ounce) can corn, drained 4 fresh tomatoes, diced 1⁄2 cup red onion, chopped 1⁄2 cup cilantro, chopped 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 tablespoon olive oil 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper 2 dashes hot sauce

Directions: Cook brown rice. In a medium bowl, combine black beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, oil, salt, pepper and hot sauce. To serve, Place a scoop of hot rice in a bowl or on a plate, top with a generous scoop of the black bean mixture. Stir together before eating.

Easy Fried Rice Ready in 30 Minutes, Serves 5

Ingredients: 3 cups cold leftover cooked rice 1⁄2-1 cup oleo (or butter) 1 medium onion (chopped) 2 stalks celery (chopped, or just use 3 cloves of garlic and) 2 carrots (diced) 1 cup frozen peas (or a small-medium part of ginger) 3 eggs (beaten, or 6) 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup soy sauce (to taste, and chicken msg) Pepper

Directions: Melt oleo in large non-stick skillet. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Saute until onions are transparent and carrots are crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Add peas and cook one minute more until peas are thawed. Push veggies to one side of skillet. Scramble eggs in empty side of skillet after the oleo spreads from veggies. Mix eggs into veggies and season with pepper. then put in small amount of rice and then. Add soy sauce. Then slowly mix in rice by the spoonful until all rice is added and all ingredients are well blended. Fry until steamy hot stirring often.

Jamacain Rice and Peas cook time 2 hours serves 8

Ingredients: 8 ounces small dried red beans or 8 ounces red kidney beans 1 quart water 16 ounces chicken broth or 16 ounces chicken stock or 16 ounces water 1⁄2 cup coconut cream 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice 2 scallions, finely chopped 1⁄2 cup white onion, chopped 2 minced garlic cloves 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 1⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 scotch bonnet pepper (left whole) 1 teaspoon brown sugar 2 1⁄4 cups uncooked long grain rice

Directions: Rinse and sort beans and place in a stockpot. Cover with several inches of water and soak overnight,-or- bring to a boil, boil gently for 3 minutes, then remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit undisturbed for 1 hour. Drain and rinse beans. Bring to a boil with chicken stock, water, and coconut cream. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours or until beans are tender and creamy. Add the thyme, allspice, scallion, onion, garlic, scotch bonnet, brown sugar, uncooked rice, salt and pepper. Check the level of liquid over the rice and make sure there is at least one inch of liquid (if not, you may add water or broth to cover). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until rice is tender. Serve hot as a side dish, with Jamaican hot sauce as a condiment, if desired. For Vegetarian use water not the chicken broth or stock.

Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships, Travel

What if The Word Why? Came With A Dollar? I would be rich off my one child alone.

One thing’s for sure, and that is, I am tired of hearing the word Why? So much, that I have considered telling my child that he has a one why maximum on the usage of the word why, per day. Or, if he uses it more than twice in a day, I am entitled to have the exclusive right to say, “I don’t know” even when I really do know. Plus, I should get to say, I don’t know, at least one time per every two why’s. Yea, that sounds like a plan. I think when you are over a certain age, your why’s should come with an Excel spreadsheet and payment on every third why in a day. Maybe, us parents can conduct a WHY Convention, where we answer all the children’s why’s in one day…. Headline: Bring your children on Friday to the Summit Beach House, and don’t ask us why. Boom! That’s it

Truth be told, I love my son’s thirst for knowledge, and the fact that he always asks me; even though it challenges me to channel my inner 6-year-old child, in which most cases, I find out that I am not smarter than a 5th grader. Juuuust kidding. But I really cannot remember anything from 5th grade. Does that make me less smart though? Hummm… I will have to think about that one before fully deflating my ego. At least when he asks why, I am forced to go into those rooms that have laid dormant in my body’s northern hemisphere, in the brain region. So, it’s not all bad. I do get a kick out of seeing if I can beat him to an explanation that will cancel all the following why’s. Just searching for something good enough for him, without having to tell a lie… and of course before resorting to saying that I don’t know. I think we should limit the times we tell our children that we don’t know something, to prevent them from growing up thinking we are dumb as a box of rocks. Or, to prevent them from asking other people and getting the wrong answers all together. I think if we do not know, we should try to find out WHY.

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” ― Phil Collins

As moms, we have all heard the expression that children are like sponges. All to say that they soak up a lot of knowledge as they grow into their personalities over the wonder years. It’s never a terrible thing that our children have so many questions about how things work, what they do and what they are used for. I am happy that my child wants to know if there are people in the back of the television. I am not so happy that he wants to take the TV apart just to find out. I am also happy that he wants to know exactly why he can jump up and down on the bed and bounce high. However, not too pleased when he tests just how high he can bounce, when it’s followed by a big fall off to the side of the bed.

I totally get it, that it’s extremely annoying to hear the word why, when it’s in response to something where the only answer is: Because I said so! Because there may not be an answer other than that to: Mom why can’t I go outside right now. Well, maybe it’s too late in the evening, maybe he’s already had his bath, maybe you are too tired to go outside with him and watch him, maybe you’re too busy to go out at that moment, maybe you don’t feel like getting him dressed appropriately to go out in certain weather conditions…. These reasons will still be responded to, with a why. Therefore, when he asks, why can’t I go outside, the answer is simply, Because I said so.

See, you must be smart about your response to the questions of why, because they have already planned their next why. You need to find ways to beat them to the punch and shut it down or it can go on for hours. Some children, like my own, will sit and deliberate on the answer, and use the Scientific Method without even being taught that in school just yet. He will began thinking it all the way through, forming a hypothesis, making an educated guess. And here we go again. Most recently, he asked to go outside and it was hi-noon in Houston. It was 58 degrees in the shade. It was a dry heat and no wind was blowing. Even your breath blew stifling air. If you saw anyone holding hands, it just made you hot because you are already sweating, shirt sticking to your back, your shades are even hot while they rest on your noses to see someone hugged up, was like scratching a chalk board. Yes, that hot. So, when he asked, I told him that it was ‘fainting weather” He asked what’s fainting weather. I explained and told him that it’s too hot, and it’s the kind of weather that you are liable to pass out in (faint) heat stroke. I told him that we needed to get some water so that we could stay hydrated while out in that kind of weather.

The next day, as a consolation prize for being indoors for the afternoon, on the day before; I took him to the park. It was just as hot. On the way, he asked, “Mom, is this fainting weather.” Me: Yes, baby. 40 Minutes later after silence in the car, he asked, “Mom, why did GOD make the sun so hot? Why would he want to kill the people he created?” I literally felt my mental elevator crash somewhere between my heart and head. I was totally defeated. I answered, He did not do it to kill anyone baby. He made it hot because the trees and grass need it. So, he asks, “Why?” By now, I am in the front seat banging on the dormant doors to my brain. No one would answer. I just told him that the trees and grass can take it. We can’t. But if we stay hydrated, we will be fine. He then asked, “Well, why can’t the trees and the grass stay hydrated?” All I know is, I was so happy to be pulling up to the park right around that time!

Lifestyle, Parenting, Relationships, Travel, Uncategorized

Every Single Mother Will Benefit From Hearing This

2016 began a year of transparency for me. It came after recognizing that there was room for a change in the direction I was taking to approach new challenges. In being told out right, that I was not as transparent as people would like, and that because of this, they don’t “know who I am” I decided to delve more into it. Initially I didn’t take to that very well, as I thought I did good at being an open book, if I should say so myself.

However, in this season and along this journey, I’ve come to the realization that being an open book about my life and happenstance, wasn’t exactly the transparency that they were referring to. It’s awesome to show people a strong courageous girl, after detailing some of the things that life throws at you…. but sometimes, it’s even more awesome when people can relate to your testimony, by knowing the tribulation as well, so that they will know that the things they may be burdened with, are also things that someone else has been burdened with. They are then able to seek refuge in knowing that there is a way out. IE: “XYZ happened to me, and I made it out.” V.S. more Transparency: “These are the things I endured, when XYZ happened. And this is what I had to do, to get beyond the things which happened to me. It wasn’t a cake walk, but I made it.

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…. We breeze right past the hard part because we’re anxious about telling the good part…and we are so happy to share the good news. Or because we do not want to dwell on the bad part, we skip right to how we triumphed, and it comes across as, all good. As women, working mothers, single moms….we make it look so easy sometimes, because no one really hears the part about where we fell down a few times during the trials and on the journey to make it through and out. However, that’s what they need.

For some reason, and one that I am sure will continue to reveal itself to me more over time, as I become familiar with why people want to know about the bad days, I understand that it’s important that you share that you had some hard decisions to make; which came with some pretty hefty consequences from choices or even moves you did or didn’t make when the time was necessary, and that you struggled in the process.

I understand that people want to know about the battle and they want a birds eye view into some of the pain, without hearing the sound of a victim. This takes some crafting, because there’s a tiny little line, in which if crossed, the dynamic and tone of the story will change to reflect bragging or even boasting. On the flip side, someone who’s constantly talking about “what has happened to them” instead of talking about the process of how what happened, brought you to a brighter place, the message tends to get lost in translation. While we should be happy in our own right- and celebrate our victories, as well as be proud of the fact that we made it out of a rough patch, we don’t want the testimony to get trapped in a maze of affirmations about self.

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“With reference to those times that you hear someone say, that someone has put a bad taste in their mouth, think of this: The taste you give someone about yourself, comes from the soil that you mature and grow in.” – Sincerely, Niedria Kenny

When we speak of the victory all the time, without balancing and filtering into the story, the things that make us normal- to show people how they too can overcome something, they don’t believe they can. Such as: How we managed to move through the ranks, what we did in between jobs and we transitioned in careers, what we faced when we were fired from our jobs, what happened to us when we did not get the raise we needed, what we did in the meantime, while we waited on the promotion, how we came to the conclusion to leave a job, in order to create a better life, or how we had to make a life-altering decision to loose in order to win again. If you do not share these things, people begin to see you as super human, and no one wants to be around a super human or someone that makes them feel inferior. If you always make it look easy, you contribute to a person’s sense of failure, in that if they can’t do something that’s being described as so easy… they began to ponder the question of, “what does that make them, what’s wrong with them?”

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Be not mistaken. I’m not standing in the gap for people who constantly need ego stroking or people who are generally always down and looking for someone else to pull them out of the slumps of which they won’t do their part in helping themselves. I am not standing in the gap for those who relish in knowing that someone else is miserable. Both are toxic people and can end up pulling you back into the place that you are so happy to have escaped.

This was also something that I had to learn to decipher between: Someone who wants to know about your fall before success, so that they can encouraged themselves and speak life over themselves to move into a place for change. .v.s. someone who just wants to know that you fell down, just so that they can say, aha!

I would like to encourage Mothers, Single Moms and Work Moms, who are successful or finding success by navigating through the trenches; to not be ashamed of sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. If it is a victory that you want to share, share the trial as well. If you messed up somewhere along the way, or did not get it right the first time, or it took longer than you anticipated, it’s OK. There is someone, somewhere, who will benefit in knowing that seasons change, and they can too..

“You know, I don’t think any mother aims to be a single mom. I didn’t wish for that, but it happened. Charlize Theron

As Seen On Working Mother