about me · My Soapbox · Parenting · Personal essays

teacher Appreciation

Last week was teacher appreciation week. I have been a teacher for roughly 12 or so years – an early childhood teacher who is unforgivingly titled as a “Daycare worker.” My lack of state or national certification does not make me less deserving to be called a Teacher. This frequent “mistake” has even made me hesitant to tell people my occupation because the next question is, “oh! what grade?” Then I have to explain that it’s not a grade but an age. And unless I say I am teaching 4 and 5-year-olds, people picture piles of diapers, runny noses, and constant temper tantrums, which is not far from the truth. However, being an early childhood teacher requires lessons in not only numbers, letters, and shapes but we must also teach self-awareness, self-help, and self-expression. It has often been quoted that the 1st five years are the foundational years and I have never taken that lightly. For most, it is not until they require childcare, that people realize the importance of preschools and child development centers. Or some see another child, same age as their own, and that child is potty trained at 16 months or reading at 2 years old that they learn that their child is being taught and not attended to. Despite having taught infants, toddlers and 4 and 5-year-olds, I have never taken my role for granted. At one point, I felt that my teaching certification would provide me the validation needed for the public. It was not until recently that I have found my own validation in my teaching abilities. I have always been an advocate for early childhood programs, but it has been a hard fight trying to convince most that even though my day does not end at 3pm, I teach the children AND their parents, day in and day out.

I LOVE being a teacher. It is my gift. The amount of gratification I receive cannot be described. It is not my only calling in life, but it positively frames how I present myself to the world. I no longer wish to trade with 2nd-grade teachers in order to earn some level of professional respect. I have lost the desire to force myself into the public school system as an early childhood teacher (even though I applaud the state for including ECE into the school system ♥). Being a teacher is an often thankless job, that’s why we get a “teacher appreciation!” Parents and administrations have the opportunity to say or show thanks. A simple act that goes a long way. Most parents of children under age 5 cannot wait until Monday morning to deposit their child back to “daycare” and cannot imagine having 10 of the same age running around. Those same parents expect their child to talk, walk, read, write, and potty by age 5 through those “daycare workers.” So even if I cannot be called a teacher or if parents can’t say that their child attends school, “thank you for all you do” will suffice. I can and have adapted to the rest.

 

Give love. Get love.

 

Personal essays · Reflections

Mother’s Day

I can appreciate a holiday that allows people the opportunity to express their love, appreciation, and precious throwback photos of their mother. Just like my favorite, Valentine’s Day, each year on social media, feeds are flooded with pics surrounded by words of adoration that make me smile. But one thing I noticed this year was a generational theme. So many pics of mothers and grandmothers – 1st-time mothers posting pics with their child and then their mother. It reminded me the importance of a village (refer to my previous post here). It made me realize the significance of one’s past to acknowledge the future.

Mother’s day also reminds me of those who have lost a parent. Many of my friends, peers have lost their mother. My sympathy extends to them each holiday. I never know if it’s safe to call, text, or share a fond memory. I depend on my mother so much, and I could not imagine life without her. My mom lost her mom was about my age. Even though we are in two different phases of life, I know my mom would appreciate having her mother now.

This year, in particular, causes me to think upon those with strained mother/daughter relationships. Being a mother is an unending, tireless, and frequently, thankless role. Many are given the responsibility without warning or preparation. I have always seen motherhood as a gift because not every woman is granted the title, at least not biologically. One of my mottos has been, “Children don’t come with instruction manuals” and if you become unexpectedly or undesirably pregnant, no manner of manuals will help. It is my hope this holiday provides an opportunity for healing or reconciliation.

And in honor of this particular day, my brother, the artist, GI Magus has released a new song, Simone GraceIt serves as an ode to the beauty of the black woman as a hope to inspire young brown-skinned women to accept themselves just as they are and to carry that feeling into adulthood. It is an intergenerational lullaby that should motivate mothers to teach their daughters to embrace every curve, every dimple, every mole, and every pimple. Anchored by the hashtag #tellher, GI is signaling to all his followers to tell her that she is loved, that she is beautiful, that she is essential, and that she matters.

Motherhood is more than a notion. Being a godmother and aunt are roles that I have been honored to claim. Being surrounded by so many beautiful women who have shown me numerous lessons in sacrifice, devotion, elasticity, multiplicity,  and sheer grace has allowed me to appreciate being the man with a womb. Regardless of the circumstance or the relationship, #tellher (mom, sister, daughter, wife, friend) beyond social media and before it is too late. Do not assume that she knows. She would not mind hearing it again and again and again…

Give love. Get love.

about me · Personal essays

Maintain – My 2018

I follow a few bloggers who have declared a word for their year. I cannot recall what my word may have been last year, but this year it came to me quite quickly – MAINTAIN!

Here’s the story: Every new year brings this euphoric high. Of course, armed with this feeling, I was wondering how could I keep or maintain this attitude all year long. What helped with this belief was an Instagram post by one of my favorite bloggers/vloggers, @askproy, where she is doing #askproyselfloveproject. For January, she has encouraged her followers to post a selfie and attach a positive affirmation (I have yet to post my selfie). On this day, January 2nd, her statement was: I have come this far & I can keep going. She goes on to describe how we all make goals at the top of the year and then give up. She instructs to just take a moment, day, week, etc. at a time. My response was: My goal for this year is to keep this feeling all year long! And that’s when it hit me, the song lyrics of Jonathan McReynolds, Lord, Help me MAINTAIN!

Per my google search, Maintain is defined as:

  1. cause or enable (a condition or state of affairs) to continue
    1. It is my utmost desire to stay high all 365 (it’s already been a struggle!)
  2. provide with necessities for life or existence
    1. This is all God! But it also ties into a new venture I am exploring as well! WIN-WIN
  3. state something strongly to be the case; assert
    1. Now this one, it does not automatically come to mind when I think of maintain, but I declare/assert/affirm/avow/profess/claim/allege/contend with the notion that I will remain optimistic and motivated all year long.

But my visit to the hospital for some tests provided me with a 2nd word for 2018: HOPE. I was reminded that my God can use anyone at anytime to confirm something He planted in you. Words have power and actions carry weight.

I am moving confidently in my faith.

This is my scripture for the year: Psalm 16:5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

The Lord is my chosen and assigned portion, my cup; You hold and maintain my lot.

I’m in a zone. Lord, Help me Maintain…

 

Give Love. Get Love.

 

Personal essays

The New New

January 1st signifies a newness. But as time ticks on, some people have begun to avoid the cliche’: “new year, new me” or even ignore new year’s resolutions. For most, before the 1st quarter is over, the resolutions have dissolved and old habits have resurfaced. Some, like myself, have tried to work on or plan for those January resolutions in November or December in order for maximum success. For me, I have tried not to fall into the same old mindset. However, I am realizing that there is absolutely nothing wrong with using January 1st to start all over again. It’s a new day, a month, a new year that has never been seen before. The wisdom comes in planning:

  • I can create a new path to wellness in January but I need to plan for whichever I decide to follow.

Thinking about yoga + pilates, combined with some weight training. However, water aerobics would be the bee’s knees!

  • I can create a have aspirations for my blog but I must plan and schedule my posts.

My blogger/writing guru, Javacia Harris Bowser of See Jane Write has offered this as a guide for her Janes!

  • I can desire to a better steward of my time, talent, and treasure but I must apply discipline.

The Parable told in Matthew 25:14-40 paints a descriptive picture of what we are required to do with what God has placed in our hands until He returns.

Overall, I am very excited about 2018. I have enjoyed my Christmas break. I have lounged and ate and thought and planned and ate and slept and laughed and lounged. All of that served me quite well. However, I am ready to move forward guided by wisdom and led by love.

Give Love. Get Love.

Cheers to 2018!

 

about me · Personal essays · Self Love

Let Go

I went to bed last night full of hope. I got some exciting news from a close friend. She and her husband had been praying all year and believing God for a laundry list of things to happen. Last night she shared how many things had been crossed off, but the biggest prayer request had been answered, and I am thrilled.

So last night I laid in bed, trying to clear my mind for a great night’s sleep. I am returning to work today after being placed on bed rest. For the 1st time ever in life, I was forced to just rest. I have had recovery time from surgery, but this was not the same for me. I was being forced into 7 days of rest. It seemed promising but not as natural as I thought it would be. Nonetheless, last night, my prayer was to sleep sounding but awake on time, hearing my alarm. There was a noise in the middle of the night that seemed as if someone was preparing to enter my room. My doorknob jiggled. I waited to see who chose to disturb my sleep but thought if it was a spirit or something ungodly, I decided to prayed my voice to yell, “Jesus!” but I just went back to sleep.

I promised myself I would not be late for work and my current formula for that is to wake up earlier. (I am in the process of changing this idea of me ALWAYS being late.) I found myself hearing a rustle and felt my body slowly exit sleep and begin to wonder the time. I searched for my clock/alarm, hitting the button on the slide. My phone died. The idea of that seems so laughable because out of all mornings, I need my alarm. I was wrong in thinking my cord had hit the floor. Somehow, some weird way, my charger, and the phone had separate during the night. It was laying on the bed near my phone. I plugged it in, thinking it was around 330. It was 4:59 am. At that moment, I sat up and thanked God for loving me enough to wake me right when I needed it.

Two nights ago, I laid in bed thinking that maybe I had not been praying enough or listening to God closely enough or just making time to be still and learn how to wait. This morning, He lovingly and gently reassured me that He’s here, He’s listening, and I know how to hear His voice. It was a moment of reassurance that I could not have planned but desperately needed.

This was the 1st morning I attempted to meditate. My heart full of gratitude demanded a Selah – a moment to pause and quietly reflect. As I cleared my mind, a song played in my ears. I tried to remove it from my thoughts, but my spirit said, “Listen to the words. Listen to what you have been declaring. Listen to what you have been putting power to. Listen to what to what you have placed in the atmosphere.” So I allowed, “We are desperate, we are waiting for You, Lord. Have Your Way” to play in my head. This morning served as a reminder that I need to let God have his way. Not just sing about it but believe it, trust it and do it.

Give Love. Get Love.

Personal essays · Self Love

100 days…

From my post in April:  100 signifies an election. The word election stems from the Latin eligere meaning to “pick out.” So today, I have elected to reflect over the past 99 days and pick today as the day to begin to conquer my fears, move past my insecurities, and just do it. My faith is urging me to really do IT.

We were taught that 100 means the end. But it’s only April, and Spring just started getting good. Excuse me while I wipe off my rose-colored glasses, adjust my curls away from my face, and exhale, “please count with me…..101, 102, 103, 104, 105. . . .”

 

And now here we are in September with 100 days remaining in 2017. I have still elected to conquer my fears, move past my insecurities and just do IT! I came here tonight to make some declarations so I can purposefully and intentionally fulfill my 2017.

I declare that I will learn dedication and consistency.

I declare that I will work on not being so hard on myself.

I declare that I will work hard and put all my faith in God.

Good night and CHEERS!

 

Give Love. Get Love.

 

 

 

Personal essays

Oh July…

It’s the last few hours of July, my birth month. I can usually reflect back on all the love I received and/or the fun I have had. But I looked at my calendar hanging on the wall and the flower chosen for July is barely seen because the edges are folded over and I looked thinking, “I cannot believe I am actually turning the page to a new month.” July was a busy blur and I don’t like that at all. So much happening between home, work, church, and my life smashed up in there. I am disappointed. It makes me sad to think that my one birthday wish – to receive the love that I give out – really was not fulfilled. The irony here is that when I had that thought this morning, I received a text from a friend who said I crossed her mind and she chose to encourage me. I think God was wanted me to know that He heard my heart’s cry.

Either way, as I lay in bed very tired, I cannot believe that this 7th month of 2017 is over. Seven is the number of rest. I did very little of that. It is the number of perfection and my life has been far from that. I am just wishing I could rewind to July 1st and make some adjustments. I do not know what I could actually change because there was so much going on but I wish I could have found time to celebrate me. I kept telling myself that I will just borrow some time in August but it does not feel worth it at this point.

But in spite of it all, I am grateful. I am a full-time employee and as of August 1st, I will earn the most amount of money yet in this field. My car is still running when I thought it would have given out by own. I am able to sleep in the bed I want even though my parents think I should have gotten a smaller one. My skin is reacting to something; I feel as though I am breaking out from everything but it could be worse.

And what’s crazy, I did not plan a birthday dinner, per usual, but I really wanted a lobster dinner.😏 Guess that’s for the best because I truly want to adopt a vegetarian diet.

I think I had more to say but I started watching a Bishop TD Jakes message from a few weeks ago and my feelings of disappointment are beginning to dissipate so I am ready to sleep in peace.

Get love. Give love.

Personal essays

Seven – Seventeen – Seventeen

Today is my BIRTHDAY!!! 🎂🎁🎊🎉 (<—- and world emoji day 😄)

I left my journal at home 😕 so I might as well blog, right?? I had some good writing to get done, great thoughts to get out! Hopefully, I will be able to pen it all tonight.  I also left a check I needed to cash. I did not sleep well because my mind was racing and I think my music was up too loud – I think I heard every song between each sleep cycle. 😞 I am also at work, which is rare. I typically take off for my birthday, or if I must work, I leave early or something. I am here all day today! It’s a national holiday, and as much as I appreciate God for allowing me the ability to get wealth, I would have preferred enjoying it my own way.

In other 1st, I received birthday gifts from my family weeks early! That was pleasantly surprising. I also did not plan anything for my birthday. There are things I want to enjoy for myself and by myself (i. e. sips n strokes, possibly lunch at a winery) but I typically plan a dinner or some sort of gathering with my friends and family, and I did no such thing this year. There is so much going on, I felt that I would have been disappointed by the lack of participation or the flood of excuses, so I just opted to do me.

I do, however, plan on celebrating until the end of the month. I will try to stop on July 31st, but I am not making any promises! 😏 I expect the most from this year, so I will not be bound by time. I will be 37 for the next 364 days and every day is a gift!

But it’s 7 – 17 – 17 and I plan on just resting in silence satisfaction in all those numbers have to offer. 7 – perfection and rest. 17 – victory. I love it! I will rest in perfect victory today and for the remainder of the month. Taking advantage of this moment will carry me through the end of 2017.

My birthday wish: to see and experience God’s blessings while I am living and well-able.

I love my family for accepting me. I love my friends for loving me.

Give Love. Get Love.