Moving Forward

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

 

 

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

 

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

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

On to the next one!

But Did you Die 2If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve seen this meme of Mr. Chow [you know, the guy from the movie The Hangover, whose real name is Ken Jeong, and who in reality is also a licensed medical doctor] I would have a few hundred in my pocket.

It is often used, quite humorously in fact, to state the obvious: that in any given situation, no matter how difficult or extreme, you survived; you did not die! Obstacles are a part of life! Unfortunately, some face more roadblocks than others. We often hear the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But, this is not usually what a person wants to hear when that person feels like his/her entire world is crashing down. However, reflection after the fact, usually enables us to realize the power behind those words.

Each stage of our lives brings with it a new set of challenges. For my little brother in high school, this is the most difficult stage of his life. For my little sister getting ready to go to college, she has never been this overwhelmed. For a friend I ran into recently who graduated college and is trying to decide her next steps, she has never been more confused. For another friend in his first year of law school, wondering if he will ever make it to the second year, this is the most difficult thing he has ever had to do in his life. The interesting thing about all these people is that they believe they are going through the hardest, most challenging part of their lives. Not necessarily so.

We can all think back to a time in our lives when we felt we had been given all we could handle; and we wondered if we would ever overcome that obstacle or surpass that challenge. If you are reading this post, I say give yourself a huge round of applause because it means you have overcome! You are still surviving; you did not die! Most of us are more resilient than we think. We have more fighting power than we could ever imagine. We stumble and fall one day, but we rise to our feet the next. The next time life throws you a curve ball, and I guarantee you it will, ask yourself, “but did you die?” Then pick up the ball, and throw it right back!

Until next time,

Christine

Learning to See Through the Fog

Miami Fog 2 I woke up this morning to a foggy downtown Miami. In the seven months we have lived here, I have not seen anything like this before. I am usually greeted in the mornings with bright, sunny skies. And it made me think, in many ways, about our move here.

Most of you who know me well know this move was particularly difficult. As open as I usually am to change, I was not particularly thrilled about THIS change. I was perfectly comfortable in Atlanta. I was surrounding by a strong circle of family and friends, a great job, and I city I grew to love and call home. Sometimes, we are forced to step outside of our comfort zone. It builds character, THEY say.

My husband was offered the opportunity of a lifetime; a dream job! I was happy and elated for him! I was proud. However, in the midst of my joy for him, I was also sad. Because that meant I would have to give up the job I loved and move away from loved ones. It meant we would be starting over. Marriage is a lot about sacrifice and compromise. He was positive this would be a great move for our family, which back then consisted of HE and I. I was hopefully, but mostly I saw fog. Nonetheless, I took the leap and here we are.

The past seven months have been challenging to say the least. I had heard to give myself a year to fully adjust to the move. It was almost like going through the five stages of grief. Okay, that analogy may be a bit extreme, but I’ve had moments of some, if not all of those feelings. I spent quite some time seeing only the fog – the things I did not like about Miami. I am not sure when it happened, but one day I realized it was not so much Miami that I hated. It was more the life in Atlanta that I loved. That love was overpowering. Some would say I’m crazy!

“You LIVE in MIAMI!”

“What more could you want?”

Admittedly, the weather here [for the most part] is wonderful. Very much like Jamaica, my homeland. We are surrounded by beautiful beaches, and a breathtaking view! But I had to allow myself time to grieve; and grieve I did. Until I had an epiphany.

I realized I could not allow THIS change to CHANGE who I am. So, I searched for the positives, I looked beyond the fog to find the beauty. We all have those moments, I am sure. Moments where we can only see the negatives of a given situation. If we look far enough, and try to see past the present, we can find solace and hope for the future. It was not until I changed that attitude that I was able to begin to appreciate Miami, our new HOME!

Until next time,

Christine