Author: cforsythe2010

Enough is Enough

At what point do we take a step back, re-assess, re-evaluate, and say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?” It is that moment when we realize that in any given situation or relationship we are no longer happy. Yes, HAPPY! Happiness should be our guide, otherwise, what is the point? When we fail to focus on our own happiness, can we really say we are living our life? Or, are we living someone else’s?

“THE PURPOSE OF OUR LIVES IS TO BE HAPPY”

Dalai Lama

Too often we sacrifice our own happiness to please others. For some, it is a fear of being alone; or it is the constant need to be and to feel accepted. Many of us feel pressured to do things or to submit when we know it is at the expense of our own joy. The result is a miserable existence. That is not to say we cannot or should not make sacrifices for those we love. But when those sacrifices lead to our unhappiness, it is time to say ENOUGH!

The older I get, the more I value the concept. Life is short and unpredictable. The recent tragedy involving the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is just one example of how uncertain life is. It is this uncertainty that should remind us to live each day to the fullest. Sometimes the root of our unhappiness is not necessarily other people, but ourselves. I am often guilty of being so focused on goals and outcomes, I forget to just LIVE IN THE MOMENT. I am a constant work in progress. Each day I gain a deeper understanding of the phrase “Carpe Diem.” Seize the day! Three very powerful words. Happiness is a state of mind; it has everything to do with our own mindset, our own reaction to different people, situations and circumstances. We can control our own happiness. Happiness is a state of mind we all crave; it is also something we can all attain.

My wish for you is that you will find it; that you will let go of those around you who make your life miserable; that you will remove yourself from situations that only cause you to put forth negative energy; that you will seek those who bring you comfort, peace, and happiness!

Until next time,

Christine

 

 

 

 

 

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Quit Making Excuses; Just Do!

There are people in my life who truly inspire me! Too many to list, quite frankly. But this morning, a dear friend posted a collage on Instagram in honor of “Transformation Tuesday” and it brought me back to a conversation we had about two years ago. I invited her to join me for a run around the neighborhood and during our walk/run, she told me she ordinarily ran only if someone was chasing her. I laugh when I think about that statement today. Natalee’s transformation is so much more than the two images depicted below. About a year ago, she decided to take control of her life by focusing on her body through fitness and proper nutrition. For her, it was not just a physical challenge, but a mental and emotional challenge as well. Natalee Drummond is the epitome of hard work, dedication, and focus. She decided she wanted to make fitness a big part of her life, and she did!

Natalee DrummondYou may look at these two images and think, she looked fine before! In fact, her statement with this post, was “I love both women. The one on the right busted her tail to lower her body fat and gain muscle.” It is all a matter of perspective: one’s goals, one’s desires, one’s dreams. In one of her recent posts, Natalee wrote: “I began my fitness journey a little over a year ago and I’ve missed less than 10 days in the past year. I can’t believe how strong I’ve become spiritually, mentally and physically in one year. If you’re on the fence, start now! One year from now you’ll be happy you did.”

That is coming from a mother of two young boys, a very successful attorney, and small business owner. She has dedicated her life to finding that balance; and doing something that not just makes her happy, but ultimately makes her a better mother, and a better woman. There is no better satisfaction than the sense of personal fulfillment  and accomplishment. It builds self-confidence. We can do ANYTHING we set our minds to. But often, we make excuses.

Often we make excuses for the reasons we fail to accomplish our goals, whatever they are. Your goal may not be to become a fitness model. It may be a goal of losing 5, 10, or 15 pounds. It may be a new years resolution of becoming more physically active. It may be a goal of going to the gym at least three days a week. Or, It could have absolutely nothing to do with fitness.

Quit making excuses; just do! We need to stop telling ourselves we cannot because of X,Y, and Z. We need to start telling ourselves WE CAN! Each day we procrastinate by overwhelming ourselves with negative thoughts, is another day of missed opportunity.

Carpe Diem!

Christine

 

 

That’s Why I’m Single!

A debacle I’ve had over the past twenty-four hours with a major airline company forced me to show up at the ticket counter at the airport bright and early this morning. I was not getting anywhere with the six different representatives I spoke with over the telephone, and decided the best way to solve the problem was to speak with someone in person. Needless to say, I got the situation resolved in about ten minutes just by dealing with someone face-to-face. But I digress. That is not the purpose of tonight’s blog.

Today, I write about self-respect; the often touted, but fleeting concept. As I stood at the ticket counter this morning I heard three words that made my ears perk up and my body swung in the opposite direction to see who uttered those words and at whom those words were directed. “ARE YOU STUPID?” That was the response to the simple question “should I follow you?” asked by a woman to a man [her travelling companion who I assumed was her husband]. What was most shocking to me, however, far more so than the man’s retort, was the woman’s response. In a soft gentle tone, she uttered “I wasn’t sure since we have separate tickets” and she quickly followed behind him. Both the ticket agent and I looked at each other in disbelief. Those three words “ARE YOU STUPID?” were uttered so loudly everyone in the general vicinity heard them, and I could almost feel the woman’s embarrassment. The redhead at the counter looked me in the eyes and said, “that’s why I’m single!”

In essence, what the redhead was trying to tell me was that she would never put up with someone like that; she would rather be alone than be disrespected! “I told my friends I am going to write a book about fifty dates after fifty, because why bother? Even the ones you think are not that bad turn out to be assholes.” I chuckled, as my mind went back to the couple I observed a few minutes before. Was that normal? Did that woman constantly deal with that type of abuse? Her reaction suggested that was her normal, and I felt sad.

We have often heard the phrase “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Although the exact origin of that quote is uncertain, it touches on a very important concept. We have to hold ourselves in such high esteem that we stand our ground for things that are important to us. One of those things should be respect. We have to respect ourselves enough to command respect from every single person we deal with. It starts with us! We are treated the way we allow ourselves to be treated. I truly hope what I observed this morning was not that woman’s normal; if it is, I hope she will have the courage to change it.

 

Until next time,

Christine

 

Block Out the Noise

It is unlikely the name KEI NISHIKORI rings a bell unless you are an avid tennis fan. But I bet most of you would recognize ROGER FEDERER even if you have never watched a tennis game in your life. The latter has established himself as one of the all time, greatest tennis players. Like most, I had no idea who Kei Nishikori was when I went to the Sony Tennis Open this week. In fact, that was my first live tennis match, ever. I knew I was going to see Federer play, but who he was playing was a mystery. As Nishikori emerged from the back onto the court, the crowd was quiet. Of course, Federer got the complete opposite reaction; thousands of people erupted when he embraced us with his presence and many chanted his name. Nishikori was not fazed.  He emerged the victor, and it was Nishikori who advanced to the semi-final round that night after a spectacular and unforgettable performance.

We are often inspired by underdogs; those who are expected to fail before they’ve even started and manage to win! That match was one of those awe-inspiring moments that left me feeling truly impressed. The fact that Federer was the crowd favorite was obvious. After the first set, it appeared the win over Nishikori would be easy – Federer won that set 6-3. Nishikori knew better. Somehow, he was able to block out the noise of a stadium filled with Federer supporters. Nishikori kept his focus, and game after game he became more confident and more powerful. By the middle of the second set, it was clear this guy was a force to reckon with. If you did not know his name before, you knew it that night.

A singles tennis match is unlike other team sports such as basketball or football. As a player, you are on your own out there; you and your thoughts! Neither Federer nor Nishikori had the luxury that night of team members patting them on the back [or butt] to reassure them they could win. Each man had to figure out ways to defeat the other, both mentally and physically. It is the mental aspect that struck me most as I sat in the stadium watching an upset few anticipated. Nishikori was obviously aware he was facing an uphill battle that night. But he stayed resilient and strong and he proved to the world he was a worthy opponent.

We can learn a lot from Kei Nishikori – we can learn to block out the noise around us, stay focused, be confident, and achieve the unexpected. It starts by believing in ourselves!

Until Next Time,

Christine

 

Uncharted Territory

It has been a while since I have put pen to paper, or in these modern times, fingers to keyboard! But something has weighed on my heart for a few months now, and it is time to reflect and to share with you, my dear readers, a few lessons I have learned from a most recent and daunting experience.

1) Never Judge a Book By Its Cover:

When we listed our property for rent last year, it rented in a week! We had hired a property management company to handle the process to ease the stress – or so we thought. In a week, we had five different people interested in renting. The lucky winner happened to be the first one to apply. From all accounts, she fitted the description of a perfect renter: her credit score exceeded the requirement, her ten-year rental history was intact, and she had a good solid income. What was most impressive, was this lady was the Director of a Non-Profit Organization. We thought – if she manages and takes care of a company, she should take care of our home, right? WRONG! That decision turned out to be a huge mistake. Things started off great – she paid her rent on time the first few months, and then month after month, the payments were made later and later. Now, don’t get me wrong, the fact that she was paying late was not the biggest problem. Unforeseen things happen, we get that. The problem was the lack of communication, and the complete disregard for the fact that the payments were late. Ultimately, the payments stopped, with absolutely no explanation and no phone call. Half way into a one year lease agreement, the contract was broken. What was most surprising was that this Director decided to move the majority of her things out of the house and terminate the utilities, without a word to this management company. She completely refused to return phone calls, or respond to emails. In essence, she went M.I.A. Not what you would expect from the Director of a company, but not entirely surprising either. Truthfully, I expected candor and decency; enough to pick up the phone and explain the reason she missed payments, or could no longer afford the rent, or had to move somewhere else. Instead, we got a house filled with garbage, and a judgment for past due rent.

2) Friends are the Best Resource

In the midst of all the chaos with this renting experience, our friends were the best resource. Forget about the company that was hired to actually “manage” the property; friends kept us in the loop and were there to offer support and guidance when needed. It was a friend who called to tell me there was a moving truck in front of our house with items of furniture being moved from the house into the truck. It was a friend who showed up at the house to take pictures of said moving truck so we could have evidence this lady was breaking her contract. It was a friend who went to the house at 8:00 a.m. this morning to meet the painter so he could paint the house. It was a friend who left her job in the middle of the afternoon to again meet the painter to find color matches for the work to be done. We hired a company to handle these things, but when that company failed, our friends were there! I cannot thank them enough for that support and assistance during a difficult process.

3) This Too Shall Pass

Life can be tough and challenging! It is not an easy road. We are sometimes tested to determine our strength and our resolve. This experience has taught me patience [I am still learning in case you are wondering]. Ultimately, I know we will overcome and we will move on. We will take the lessons we have learned from this experience to help us with the next challenging one that will come. This too shall pass, that I am sure. But my dear friends, mark my words: I WILL NEVER BE A LANDLORD AGAIN!

Until next time,

Chrissy

 

Battle of the Sexes

“Do you know what you are having?”

“Yes, I am having a boy!”

That has been the beginning of the majority of the conversations I’ve had in the last few months and the responses to my revelation have been nothing short of comical and entertaining. The majority of the responses support a boy, and I’ve learned that people are quite vocal in expressing this preference even if they are complete strangers.  I’ve heard things such as:

“Boys are the best,”

“Boys are so much easier than girls,”

“Be glad you are not having a girl, girls are so complicated.”

And then it begins, a plethora of stories to justify each of those statements. Stories that make it obvious that from the beginning, from the womb, we have a constant battle of the sexes.

What are girls? Chopped liver? Are girls really that complicated? Should I be offended when the person telling me girls are complicated is male? Quite honestly, I echo the sentiment. Girls are complicated! There, I said it. But I don’t believe girls are any more complicated than boys, we are just complex in different ways. This difference stays with us into our adult years and even when we don’t want to be compared, we are!

As a female lawyer, I can speak from personal experience when I say the battle of the sexes is real! We are constantly being measured and judged by our male counterparts. If a female lawyer is strong, assertive and confident, she is a labeled a bitch. And that term is not limited to the courtroom, or the boardroom, or to the legal profession. It is a constant battle women face on a regular basis, no matter the profession and no matter the role.

Boys and men face challenges of their own, as a result of this constant battle and the pre-conceived notions we have of men and women. It is the reason men are criticized for wanting to become nurses; or their decision to become a single parent is generally questioned and doubted. We are all pigeonholed; and constantly being compared!

ComparisonWho ultimately wins the battle?

In case you are wondering, I am extremely happy to be having a boy! But, I would have been equally happy to have a girl!

Until next time,

Christine

Reflections

In just a few short days, I will celebrate another birthday, another milestone.  As the day draws nearer, I cannot help but reflect and contemplate on my life. This journey has been incredible! Filled with some amazing moments of joy, heartbreak, accomplishments, and invaluable lessons learned. They say 30s is the new 20s, or was that just a phrase thirty-year olds coined to feel better about themselves? Either way, I will celebrate!

Birthday Cake

It is funny to think when I was younger I dreamed about being older; being more independent. In fact, I hear it often from younger ones: “I can’t wait to be a teenager,” “I can’t wait to be older,” “I can’t wait to be married,” “I can’t wait to own my car or house.” You get the picture. But, life is a cycle – the older we get the younger we wish we were. We clench to hold on to our youth and some of us live in constant denial that we are no longer as young as we used to be.  But we are as young as we feel, and as young as we act. In fact, we are as young as we want to be!

I am truly thankful to celebrate another anniversary of my birth! With each year, I believe I learn a bit more about myself. I have been truly blessed to have accomplished a lot of what I set out to do, but there is still much more work to do. So many more ways to improve; so many more goals to accomplish. This is only the beginning.

As I get ready to embark on a new chapter of my life, my heart is filled with joy! One day very soon I will be someone’s parent. Wow! Someone will call me “MOM!” As you can imagine, I am filled with joy, excitement, and anticipation. But there are also feelings of anxiety and fear; fear of the unknown. Though I have heard these feelings are quite normal at this stage, it is still somewhat frightening. Motherhood is quickly approaching. But, I am learning to take it in strides. In many ways, I believe I have enough role models to guide me. I am blessed to be surrounded by people I consider great parents! My mother is at the top of that list! I will take the lessons I have learned and build! One day at a time.

As if on cue, as I was driving home this evening Rod Stewart’s Forever Young came on my radio. One of my all time favorite songs! I will leave you with the first verse:

May the good Lord be with you

Down every road you roam

And may sunshine and happiness

Surround you when you’re far from home

And may you grow to be proud

Dignified and true

And do unto others

As you’d have done to you

Be courageous and be brave

And in my heart you’ll always stay

Forever Young, Forever Young

Forever Young, Forever Young

Until Next Time,
Christine

Haagen-Dazs Rocky Road, Joel Osteen’s Break Out and My Balcony…

…were the three things I turned to this evening after what felt like an eternity of a day, an eternity of a week, and it is only Wednesday! I came home today feeling beaten, wishing I could rewind the past couple days, and start over! It is amazing what a huge bowl of ice cream, four chapters of inspiration, and some fresh air can do! As I write this evening’s blog, my face is no longer wet from the tears of frustration and hormones that flowed earlier, I feel renewed!

Very often, God sends me angels! Yesterday, a dear friend stopped by to give me a book she had purchased for me. She had told me about this particular book, and how inspirational it had been for her over the past few months. To my surprise, she had ordered it. It was the book I reached for when I came home this evening, and it was exactly what I needed.

Break OutAs I read the opening chapter, one particular paragraph struck me:

“Sometimes you need faith and victory spoken over your life. Words have created power. When you receive them into your spirit, they can ignite seeds of increase on the inside…You were not created to just get by with an average, unrewarding, or unfulfilling life. God created you to leave your mark on this generation. You have gifts and talents that you have not tapped into. There are new levels of your destiny still in front of you. But break out starts in your thinking.” [emphasis added].

There I was feeling beaten and broken; and Joel Osteen was telling me, I needed to change my thinking. The mind is powerful, and our thoughts control us; they control our actions. I needed to hear those words today. I had a choice: I could either allow negative people and circumstances to affect my mood and make me miserable, or I could decide that I will not allow either to get the best of me. Sometimes the latter is easier said than done. But as I sat on the balcony with my bowl of rocky road, I did some reflecting on my life.

Negativity breeds negativity. My experiences have taught me that anytime I am positive about a particular situation, good things happen! The alternative is equally true. Sometimes, we are put through difficult situations and circumstances to test our faith; to determine whether we are strong or weak. Life is full of ups and downs, but that is life. Today was a downer, but I declare tomorrow is a brand new day; a day to start over!

I wish for you, my friends, a wonderful rest of the week – and if you need it, a big bowl of yummy goodness!

Rocky Road

Until next time,

Christine

True Beauty: What’s Inside

In her recent Essence Seventh Annual Black Women in Hollywood speech, Lupita Nyong’o shared a letter she received from one of her fans. The essence of the letter was this statement: “I think you are really lucky to be this black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight.”

LupitaIf you listened to that speech, it probably caused you to reflect on one of the most profound issues of our time: how is beauty defined? I have spoken with many about the recent rise to fame of Lupita Nyong’o since her riveting performance in the movie Twelve Years a Slave. Her performance as Patsey in the movie is nothing short of remarkable, especially in light of the fact that this was her first major role since graduating from Yale School of Drama. But I have also heard people make similar comments like the one made by her fan above, and some have expressed shock that she is this popular in Hollywood, considering….yes, considering the fact that she is so black. Forget about the fact she is extremely talented, graceful, stylish and articulate. She is beautiful, and has an amazing sense of style that has captivated the world.

Lupita, in her speech, shared the story of how she got teased and taunted about her “night shaded skin” and she would pray to God that she would wake up and be “light-skinned.” It was her mother who told her “you can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t feed you.” Lupita realized that beauty was not a thing she could “acquire or consume,” it was something that she “just had to be.” She understood what her mother meant by those words: and that is that you cannot rely on how you look to sustain you. Lupita believes that “what actually sustains us, what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion: for yourself and for those around you.” As she ended her speech, she encourages us to be beautiful on the inside, because “there is no shade in that beauty.”

The idea that someone too dark is less beautiful is pervasive in our society and our culture. It is the reason the bleaching cream industry is booming, and so many people, mostly women, go to varying extremes to lighten their skin. Even among the black race, is the prevalent idea that light-skinned and long hair, is better. How do we overcome this phenomena? Or can we? There are many explanations as to why this ideology persists. In fact, many will argue that what is portrayed in Hollywood, on television, and in magazines as “beautiful” is the source of the problem. We are fed images of what “beauty” looks like, and what “beauty” should be.

But what I liked most about Lupita’s speech, is that she changes the focus. We tend to focus more on the exterior, the physical attributes of a person and of ourselves, when we consider beauty. When really, the true focus should be on the inner being; the inner attributes of a person that make him or her beautiful. It starts there! We spend so much time trying to perfect our outward image, that we often forget to work on our character, our compassion, our love for others and most importantly, ourselves.

Until next time,

Christine

College Bound

Today my heart is joyful and proud! My little sister, though not so little anymore, is College Bound!

I remember the day as if it was yesterday! I had hoped and prayed my Mom would have another child. True, I enjoyed the perks of being an only child and being the center of attention. But I wanted that sibling experience. I was twelve years old when I found out my wish would come true, and I was ecstatic.

Of course, I didn’t really think about how much my life would change when my little sister was born. At twelve, I had the responsibility of helping my mom with this new little person. Diaper changes, baths, and feedings became a regular part of my routine. Needless to say, my excitement quickly turned into horror that my life was ruined. You mean I have to babysit? Why? But in the grand scheme, it was fun having this new little person around. She was cute as a button, too. With these bright, beautiful, big eyes, she quickly learned she could use her cuteness to her advantage! She would often get me into trouble – as she would run to mother the first chance she got to complain I was being mean to her, or I took something from her that belonged to me. It was always something, and it seemed my mother would always take her side.

When it was time for me to leave for college, she was six years old. She cried, and cried, and cried. It broke my heart to leave her, because I knew the bond we had formed in the short span of her life. She became my sidekick. On my return trips home, she was the happiest little person one could find. It warmed my heart that she refused to leave my sight, and would be terribly upset if I had to leave her. Everywhere I would turn, there she was – with those bright, beautiful, big eyes.

IMG_0262Time flies when you are having fun, they say! Brit is no longer the little person I welcomed into the world. In less than a week, she will celebrate another birthday; another reminder she is now an adult. I could not be any more proud! She has transformed into a mature, hardworking, dedicated, ambitious young lady.  She has goals, and dreams that guide her. She is also scared; scared of what tomorrow brings; scared of venturing out on her own. Now Brit gets ready to head out on her own, and she will leave our little brother behind. I am sure she is experiencing some of the same emotions I felt when I left for college many moons ago.

Walk in faith, my dear Sister! Walk in Faith!

Christine