Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Til Death Do Us Part"...

This blog was inspired by the video below, please if you never seen it watch it first..

I love his sentiment, his perspective that marriage will only be successful if put it the hands of God… Wouldn’t it be easy?
As a believer in God I do understand that my life is in his hand and nothing is of surprise to him, nevertheless, I also believe that as human we have to take responsibility of our actions and not leave it all in his hand. If this was all it really took, would we have the divorce rate in America close to 50% (projection rate from And who should that responsibility lay upon? Jefferson Bethke (author and narrator of the attached video) would say “it’s exactly because of those result we should leave it all up to him” but I would reply with something I read “When God allows man to sin, he knows that it will eventually be a means for the person to develop his faith and trust in the mercy of God” that’s why he gave us free will.
And what about atheists who have long lasting relationships; in whose hands did they put their marriage in but their own?
We can’t just act upon our choice and then leave to him to see us through it… How about using the tools he gave us which are the capability to recognize what’s right or wrong, the capacity to think, and the ability to make sensible, idealistic decisions… God foresight of our destiny does not exclude from man the power to use his free will.
We are opposing the gift of free will with the consequences of free will… As human we truly need to take responsibility of our actions.

Through sickness and health
Through good times and bad times
‘Til death do us part…

Do any of us really understand or comprehend the magnitude of these words when attached together at the time we speak them? Do we really understand the scale of the promise we are making when we deliver these vows?
We are going into the union of our lives taking a leap of faith that the vows we are making will be the “End All and Be All” but truly we are trading in such unfamiliar ground call Future.
We can be confident on how we believe our lives will be but like the process of anything we start in life we don’t know how it will unfold

15 years in a marriage 20 years in the relation, do I believe that we are the same person we married? No. Do I wish we were the same? No.  First few years of marriage where the honeymoon years; challenges arose when we grew and started to truly come into self, when what you didn’t mind accepting or doing in the name of adoration, lust, novelty is now being question by your sensibility. In time compromising become a task that is more and more challenging as it requires of you to give up half what you believe. You also learn that love is not always enough to keep a marriage together…

When I made my vows, I can say I didn’t truly comprehend the words; they were a means to an end, they were what I needed to say so everyone would recognize that WE were, they were the seal to a deal that I speedily wanted done. Because I loved him I didn’t think twice on the expectation I was setting myself up against…
Now 15 years later I have learn the meaning of those vows, I have stepped through and through the good times and bad times, sickness and health; and yes even dabbed into what death could have been…and now I can truly say meaningfully thank you GOD for putting this man into my path.
I command myself for believing and seeing through my choice even when we struggled, bumped head and sometimes reach what I thought was our breaking point.
As much as we are different we are perfect for each other, we balance ourselves out, and he is the yin to my yang, the normal to my crazy and the troubling factor of my Zen…
While the bad have been bad, the good always have been able to keep us in our love for each other, while mistakes have been made and hurts have been caused we were able to overcome them through forgiveness. We have candid conversations; we know how to laugh at each other and with each other.  I like to think he is my best friend and that I am his -although he will deny that ‘til the day he die-

There is a saying  “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between he does what he wants to do”; every day in my marriage I choose to make it a success by working at it.
Working at it doesn’t translate to having shackles on your ankles and dragging yourself through the relation; it means making every day better than the day before and to achieve that it takes work. Doubts and obstacles comes along the way and when at time I get to that cross road where I say “this is for the birds, why am I doing all this” I look at myself in the mirror staring at all my character flaws and realize how lucky I am he is beside me and accept the person I grew to be, the changes he didn’t know about but learn to love as part of me. We have the tendency to blame the other party for all the wrongs but cause and effect require two parties…
My marriage as worked thus far because I’ve made the conscience effort to push through and see beyond any “alterations”, hurdles and concentrate on the happy moments.

Yesterday my brother pulled out an old VHS tape from 1998 and for the first time I saw how much my husband had changed; I felt like I had an epiphany… Today I spend the day looking at him and telling him in amazement how much he has changed as if he was a different person and in a funny way I like that…I like the fact that 14 years has gone by -and even though I know his character, disposition and personality have evolved making him the man he is today-, I’m still able to look at him and see the man I meet and decided to honour 20 years ago…

This journey has been a work in progress and in the scale of where I want it to go and end, we are still at the early stage of our relation. Every day God will allow me in this world I will pray that I enjoy “working” in making it through the promise I made 15 years ago… Till Death Do Us Part…

Love always,

Below is an article my sistergirl sent me on Healthy Marriage/Relationships so I wanted to pass it on to you’all…

A LifeCare ® Guide: Tips for a Healthy Marriage
Building and maintaining a healthy marriage / relationship takes time and effort. With the day-to-day pressures of work, children and chores it can be easy to neglect to nurture your relationship and to take your mate for granted. This guide is designed to remind you about the importance of fostering a healthy relationship. It offers basic tips to help you build a successful marriage / relationship every day.

Learn to communicate effectively. Communication is perhaps the most important key to a strong, healthy relationship. Effective communication requires you to be an active listener—listening without judgment and focusing on what your partner is saying—as well as expressing your own feelings in a positive, truthful way. 
Make time for each other. Part of being able to communicate effectively is making time for meaningful conversations in a setting free of distractions. For example, turn off the television in the evening to make it possible to have a real conversation or order a pizza and catch up during a quiet night at home. 
Fight fair. Don’t expect to agree on everything. An important part of resolving conflicts is being respectful of your partner’s feelings, even when you are arguing. Let your partner know you value what he or she is saying, even if you don't agree. Try to avoid criticizing, ridiculing, dismissing or rejecting your partner or what he or she is saying. If you’re feeling frustrated and feel as if your anger is taking over, take a time out from the conversation and agree to resume it at a specific time later. Note--If you ever feel as if you may physically hurt your partner, walk away and seek help immediately. 
Make a commitment to your relationship. Make your relationship with your partner a priority in your life. A relationship is a work in progress. It needs attention and effort to grow. No matter how busy you are, make time to spend quality time together, even if you have to schedule out specific time slots on your calendars. Celebrate each other’s accomplishments together and support each other during harder times. 
Express appreciation. Saying thank you can go a long way toward making your partner feel special and appreciated. Even though you may feel that your partner knows you care, it doesn’t hurt to say thanks—even for everyday things like cooking dinner, putting the kids to bed, or taking out the trash. 
Maintain a sense of humour. Laugh often with your mate and be willing to laugh at yourself. Maintaining a sense of humour can relieve stress and tension, and help you get through a difficult time together. 
Learn to compromise. Compromise is important in any relationship, but it’s especially important in a marriage. If you disagree on an issue, discuss the problem calmly, allows each person to explain his or her point of view, and look for ways to meet each other in the middle. 
Practice forgiveness. There may be times when your partner makes a mistake or says or does something hurtful—whether intentionally or unintentionally. While it’s okay to be angry, it’s also important to then let go of the anger and move on. If you constantly bring up past hurts, it’s difficult to have a mutually loving relationship. 
Keep romance alive. Relationships are often romantic in the beginning, but as time passes and couples become distracted by other things—work, children, bills, the house—they often take each other for granted. Make your partner feel special by doing something romantic, no matter how small. For example, make breakfast in bed for your partner, make a date for a special night out, take a walk on the beach, or have a picnic. 
Take time for yourself. It’s normal for couples to have different hobbies, interests and friends. While it’s important to spend quality time with each other, it’s equally important to spend time alone or with friends. For example, plan a girls’ or guys’ night out, take a kickboxing class or join a book club. By making time for yourselves, you’ll appreciate each other more.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Under the light of God…

The reflection of my faith is not equal to yours, although my belief is unshaken…
My relationship with faith lacks commitment in demonstration, even though my loyalty is equal to yours…
Is it because I believe in “Providence”?
Is it because I don’t think “He” can, but I know “He” will?
Is it because I’m confident of his unconditional love for me?

Does the fact that “I believe”, make it okay to practice my faith at random? Does the fact that I know God is a God of love and forgiveness, make it okay that I only reach out to him in times of need, weakness, worry, and urgency? And is it okay, that most of the time when I do voice (high and low) my gratitude to him, it’s usually after He blesses me and answers my needs?
I think its okay… Only because I know he sees beyond the surface.

I spent 9 years in a year-round boarding school with nuns and priests. Not a single day went by without me being thankful for the blessing of life. There were morning prayers, before school lesson prayers, before meal prayers, evening services, and before bedtime prayers. I’ve learned about faith, God and the need to live a godly life. When I left the school, I didn’t leave Christianity. I went on to a weekly Catholic boarding school with the same “regiment”. I went home over the weekend, where the church was only a 3 minute walk from home and an every Sunday morning visit. Late in my teens is when I grew rebellious towards the institution of church, but not rebellious towards my belief in God and his steady divine favour…
But why is it that my personal relationship with him (through no third party) has become so seldom? Again, should I rely on him seeing beyond the surface? In the challenging moments of my life, I know who to reach out to. He will show me the solutions and answers. In the happy moments, I know who allowed the gifts and I’ll forever be thankful…
He has never let me down, even though I don’t visit him as much as I should. We make decisions in life that some may consider detrimental to our relationship with God, but only He can see deep down into our souls. He can see that our intentions and feelings are pure, and while you doubt yourself, his faith in you is constant.

Today, while I was talking about the subject of my next blog, someone said to me very candidly that he “doesn’t believe in faith because he lives a day-to-day, simple life”. I felt for him, puzzled by how one can go through life, not knowing or believing that someone has planned your path. Even though, along the way, you may stay on it or happen to get lost, “He” will always be there, steer you right and have your back.
But then I thought that sometimes ignorance is bliss; maybe because of, or regardless of his innocence of the power of God in one’s life, he obviously lives the life of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness, which God acknowledges as a reflection of him…

Is there any right or wrong way to live your relationship with God, to serve your faith and walk under his light ? 

Love always,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dance With My Father...

As a little girl, growing up in a year-round boarding school with my sisters and brothers, I remember vividly looking forward to holiday and vacation time, when I would finally get to see my ya’Toinette (a nickname I gave my mother) and mon papa. I wasn’t the baby in our family of 11 siblings, but I was the youngest of the 8 which were sent to Belgium for our education. Because of that, I always acted as if I were the baby of the clan. Granted, growing up I didn’t get to spend time with mom and dad every day, but when we were together I never used to think that the dynamic of our family was different than any other family, as everything that was emerging was natural and caring. However, I quickly realized that we were different.
We were unique because of how different my dad was from the other African dads I knew. I’m certainly not an expert on African culture, even if I narrowed it down to my country, the region we from, etc.… but what I know is, generally, the woman/wives would be the ones to take care of the kids, household, and anything other than earning money; which was the duty of the husband (please, no point intended, as I know that times have changed…but only ever so slightly). This was the norm, but not with my dad. Not only would he take care of his duty as a provider, but he was the kind of dad who (when we would come home for the weekend from boarding school) would have a full meal ready for us. A meal which started with homemade soup made from scratch. I remember the parties, the games, the talks where he would tell us how much his children were his pride and joy and it is through us, that for him, his true measure of success was defined… My father always felt like a rich man, not because he was successful in his profession but because of his children. He would always tell us that the legacy he wanted to leave with us was that we would always stick together and love each other.

Growing up, I did my share of the “commandment breaking” I was raised not to do, but regardless of any of my indiscretions, the love always was there…

In 1992, I moved to the US. Our way of life had taught me to be independent, resilient, determined, and self-sufficient. All the years watching my parents prioritize on our well being dissolved any lazy streaks in me.

In 1997, after 9 years of speaking to my parents randomly through phone conversations, and keeping a visual presence through photos (not thinking anything of the fact that I hadn’t seen them in all that time), they came to see us. At 26 years old, the image of my parents coming through the airport doors brought me to my knees and I cried, like a baby, hanging on to my parents and not wanting to let go. They had aged so much, I felt and saw the years I missed out of their lives. I’ve never told this to anyone but it was at that moment that I realized that I had let them down. All the hard work, sweat and tears they lived through by separating themselves from us so they could provide us with a better education, yet all I managed to learn and succeed in was the ability to not need them. This should’ve been the time in my life where I demonstrate my independence and instead I yearned to reattach the umbilical cord to my parents. It is also at that moment that I realized the importance of showing and expressing your love, because you can’t ever undo the missing moments…

I knew that my parents didn’t agree with the fact that I was living with my boyfriend, so after many talks, we agreed to have a justice of peace ceremony while they were here, and then plan a bigger wedding later. We set the date, but unfortunately, my dad had to return home before the set date. We felt OK about it, since my mom would stay behind and represent the both of them and they would both be back for the church wedding. In late January 1997, my husband to be and I drove my dad to New Jersey, as he was flying out from there. The whole ride, I felt so melancholy. My heart was very sad, knowing that he was leaving. At the airport, we sat and for almost 2 hours, as he spoke to us about the importance of loving each other, respecting each other, the kind of woman I needed to be for my husband and the kind of man he needed to be for me. I spent the time absorbing all of the wisdom he was unleashing on us through tears that I couldn’t contain. Thinking of that moment, what comes in my mind is that he was so frail but yet so grand because of his personality.

That day was the last time I saw my father alive…

On May 6th, 1999, my father past away…
He left two months and eight days before he ever got to see the grandchild I was so proud to give him and add to his "wealth"…. before I could show him that his little girl had grown…. before I was able to achieve my dream of having him walk me down the aisle in my beautiful white gown…. before I could tell him one more time that I loved him…. before I could say sorry for all the “don’t do’s” that I did…. before one last laugh….  before…the “never” happened.

Two weeks ago out of the blue, I called my husband and said, “Baby, I think I’m ready. I would love for us to finally have our church wedding. In 5 years when we celebrate our 20 year anniversary” …
Didn’t I say the same words when we were coming close to our 10 year anniversary? Why am I lying to myself? The day my father passed, my dream of a big wedding went with him, even though he blessed me with 6 wonderful brothers that could (and in so many instances) have taken his place. Through my marriage, I was also blessed with a wonderful father-in-law who has embraced his role as my father; however, I just cannot share that moment with anyone else…

These past few days, more than usual, my heart breaks, as I’m constantly thinking of my father. Thinking of how much I miss him, but more so, how much my kids are missing out not having him in their lives. I’ve been looking at my own family. I look at myself and its like looking at my mother; the one who was perceived as the disciplinarian, the one who seemed to keep everything levelled, in line, stable and safe. Then I look at my husband, and more and more all I can see are my father’s traits and behaviours. He was the one all of our friends used to love being around because he was cool and fun. He was definitely the one I would run to for a good time and for laughs. He used to listen to Hip Hop, R&B and dance with us while my mother in the background would give him a tender look and shake her head in disbelief of his silliness. So I know how much my kids would have enjoyed having him around...

I live everyday of my life praying that my dad, wherever he is, is just as proud of me as I’m proud to be his daughter and for the day I will finally get to dance with him again…


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Standing on my own 2 feet...

Is it Worth it?

This is the closest I've came to working towards what I view as one of my most endearing and personal dream. So I feel like I’m taking baby steps toward a calling…
It’s been 2 weeks now that I’ve decided to write and share my thoughts on events personal to my life or life happenings that just raised questions in me.
I’m realizing that although I don’t have a time frame, a deadline in accomplishing my writing ambition, I do need to show myself commitment to my writing and this blog -or maybe I should call this project  "My Public Journal"- is a mean to an end.

I was asked if this “is worth” the time and energy I’m investing in this project, if I’m truly taking the step toward achieving my goal to be one day published or just entertaining what is and will stay a dream…

We all have in us this little dream –if not several- that in the mists of your day to day life seems out of reach, vision that we leave to linger behind everything, buried deep under our priority list but that we can’t keep quiet. With time the yearning to accomplish, to make reality becomes stronger and you just can’t escape the longing…
Wanting to succeed in your personal life and not settle
Wanting to succeed professionally and set an example
Wanting to achieve milestones and raise your own expectations
Wanting to exceed personal goal and not give up
Wanting to achieve those little dreams that means big to you and build your legacy...

At time I feel like an American Idol contestant whom decided to follow his dream of becoming “The Singer” with all his with friends in tow who don’t have the courage to tell him he can’t sing or maybe they also don’t have an “ear”…

 Either way I’m standing on my own 2 feet because this is my dream but...

There is always that little voice that makes you wonder and second guess yourself, little doubts that pushes you for a "better" answer, and optimum outcome.
There is always that little part of us that needs peers reassurance, approval, advice, opinion and mostly encouragement... Even if we are strong willed and determined because we are aware of our goals and objectives and what will fulfill us. Needing support even if assured that what we stand on and for is the foundation of a well purpose life and adamant that the baggage we carry along hold most of the answers we need in life...

Love always...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MLK... 2012 Still Dreaming?

In my earlier post I asked questions that would have obviously changed the path of millions of lives...
What if we were all created equal?
What if slavery hadn't been abolished?
What if human right activists didn't exist? 

And today more than ever I wondered what if our ancestors hadn't fought the good fight? What if there hadn't been people with common sense whom realized the wrongs and the NEED to righting them?

Please educate me if this sounds false to you and completely off the mark…

I can't seat here and say that I know what the ancestors of this great country have gone through or felt in the mist of oppression; from being slaves and being dehumanized or from being slaves’ owners and being inhuman...
Is the legacy black forefathers and fore-mothers of this country fought to leave with us bitterness and being entitled? Was the lesson learned and passed on from white ancestors to their blood line that “although we won't own them anymore we will always be superior?”
No... I don’t think so...
We all have the capacity to know right from wrong, we all have the sensibility of knowing how we would like others to treat us, we all have the ability of invoking self-righteousness -but if only for the right cause and being intolerant of the obvious wrongs...Why is it, we as people, can't get pass our own selfish needs and ways?
Bitterness is a heavy suitcase to drag along on your life journey, to feel entitle is not your key to success, and don't be mistaken in thinking to live your life in a condescending manner will guarantee you absolution or the key to heaven....

49 years later...What happen to Martin Luther King dream?

"I have a dream that my children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream that one day, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

I find it amazing that my son and my little girl both know the meaning of racism when neither their father or I, had a conversation on the subject... Is this thought in classroom in the same breath as the civil right movements, black history month? When discussed is it done in a right or wrong presentation or a justification, cause and effect? I wonder...

Born in Central Africa and raised in Western Europe I cannot say that I have not experience racism during my young age however what I can honestly say is that I don’t recall it affecting my growing up. I believe as kid we have the ability to brush things off and not hold on to negativity with an ease that we lose when getting older and really understanding the weight of words and actions.
I started my adult life here in the US. Coming from a country where either you were Black, White, Indian, Middle Eastern or Asian to a very confusing world –for me, where you needed to differentiate within the obvious categories, everyone ethnicity in fear of offending anyone and this not only referring to other race but also within your own race…

I reached a professional level which requires me to deal everyday with all sort of clients and every once in a while –more than I can comprehend, I experience white folks who do a double take when they find out the manager/authority that they summoned to deal with their aggravation is a black woman as if someone was playing a bad joke on them. 
Dealt with white folks who questioned my intelligence as there is no possible way I can know, understand and be fully versed on anything that would make sense to them or interest them. Dealt with white folks whom walked pass me tensed and fearful that I’m the only person present to help them and then show sign of relieve when seeing “someone” they can relate to, meanwhile ignoring my welcoming smile/ greeting…
And…I deal with black folks who soon as you tell them “no” they are quick to revert to the race factor and how we judge them because of their colour. Deal with black folk who because they believe they are owed “by the white men” act entitled and behave out of decorum and that should be ok… All this as if I’m not black myself.
Land of opportunity... Yes, the one you choose to take and make for yourself.

Is this the same country where in 2008 while the whole world was cheering him on and waiting with anticipation result that would validate some sort of equality among all us, African-American Barack Obama was elected 44th president? The very first Black US president elected. Now I asked,  is he being judged by the colour of his skin or by content of his character?
We take 100 steps forward than 30 steps back and I truly believe we ALL have our cross to carry.

Land of equality… Absolutely not. How when we have a hard time loving and showing equality among ourselves will we be able to feel equal to other?

So again I ask…
What happened to Martin Luther King’s dream?
We celebrate his life and speak of his speech every year since his untimely death; but when are we, as people, going to achieve his dream so that could be our legacy?

What happened to Patrice Lumumba  premonition of how history will be seen?
“... History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets... a history of glory and dignity.
  — Patrice Lumumba, October 1960

What happened to us living up to what many have fought and died for us?

Love always,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What do you suggest?...

All right, not that I needed something to help my insomniac tendency but I decided to get back on the "nourishing my brain" wagon and start reading again. See where I'm going with this?...Full circle with the writing thing :)

Now I'm not saying that for the good of reading and betterment of me I'll give up on some of my favorite downtime activities like watching... The Young and The Restless (yes I admit for the past twenty years I only missed a few episodes), junk reality TV (Jersey Shore exempt, no point intended), HGTV shows and of course definitely not giving up on my cuddle nights with my daughter watching marathon episodes of Law and Order SVU... What I'm saying is my cable box/DVR is about to go the extra mile and earn the prime real estate on my armoire!

One of my staff was sooo excited about a book he  was reading; he took his break, turn the lunch area into a library and made sure he finished the book within the hour so he could hand it in synchronization of recommending it. So finally I'm about to start reading "These Things Hidden" by Heather Gudenkauf and put my faith in Gare's hands hoping it's going to be a great read.
Anyhow, this is where you all come in to play, I'm reaching out to any and all of you in recommending the best recent book you've read, heard about and want to read along with a small synopsis as I'm going to have to prioritize what I expect will be beaucoup selections from you guys.

Let me throw a little curve ball as I have a few criteria...

  1. It has to be a recent publications, I have most of the classics. Reasonably within the last 4 years?!
  2. It can't be series.
  3. NO vampire books... Again No point intended!
  4. Obviously, French or English it doesn't matter... I got it like that ;)
  5. Non Fiction or Fiction... no discrimination there..
  6. Don't recommend from Oprah Book Club List... I already have it
  7. And please , please leave Tolstoy -which is a classic anyway- or anything of the caliber of his book War and Peace (1225 pages!!!!) out of this! my plan is to read many good books and not  grow old while trying to finish one. I wanted to play smart 2 years ago and took on my friend who was reading the book for the 2nd time, and I'm still at page 265 and the book has an inch of dust build up on top of it... maybe one day but not today...or this lifetime...Sorry!
I did say just a few prerequisites/criteria right? LOL..

This focus new person I'm creating is stepping onto my old plan of discovering narcolepsy, in  small dose of course. I guess someone out there is watching out  and being selective on my "wishes"...
Seriously, thank you in advance for helping me find good reads!

PS: Who have you told you love them today?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

But What If?...

But, What If?

We’re used to life as we know it, but…

What if we were all created equal?
What if we didn't have to fear sickness?
What if we were immortal?
What if we were perfect? No flaws...
What if we knew when we would die, determined by our gender?
What if our lives were all planned out, with nothing spontaneous to look forward to?
What if the word “discrimination” really meant “love"?
What if racism wasn't taboo?
What if Germany had won the war?
What if slavery hadn't been abolished?
What if love had a monetary value?
What if marriage was a sin?
What if sinning was an acceptable behavior?
What if we didn't have morals or core values?
What if we were just here to reproduce?
What if happiness was a given for all of us?
What if poverty didn't exist?
What if there was no God?
What if human rights advocates didn't exist?
What if your dreams were realities?
What if you didn't dream of more and better?
What if the lives we live weren’t the ones we chose?
What if we could turn back the hands of time and alter our stories?

Why let our lives be haunted by the "what ifs"? Every day, we torment ourselves with what we should have done, could have changed and dealt with differently... My new commitment in life is to count my blessings, take everyday as a lesson to be learned, look forward to tomorrow, and appreciate my moment.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If I'm happy than you'll be.

Last month, I shared my thoughts with a small groups of friends about "Me" first or "Others" first, in relation to happiness. Reading it again this afternoon, I figured, why not "blog" it and see what you all think...
One of the responses I got back was, "I think balance is the key word, we shouldn't let one outweigh the other". And I'm thinking, Duhhhh...... RosieSandz!!!!-

If I’m happy, than you’ll be happy….

When did it become custom to put others first, in order to become good members of society, good friends, good wives, or good mothers? When did the word egoism start carrying such a negative connotation? Couldn’t it just be synonym of self-love, or a way to build our inner strength? When did it become the norm that showing altruistic behavior is a virtue?
Altruism… Definition: The principal or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others (opposed to EGOISM).
What a big word…what a meaningful big word, a big adjective…that implicates self-sacrifice… So is that the path to absolution and a fulfilled life?

From the day I came through, unscathed, my wonderful but different adolescence, where being self-centered and care free was expected, to maturing into a young woman (to whom meaningful, lasting relationships were the focus but learning to make room for others was novelty), to falling in love “2 becomes 1” style, where slowly but surely you learn that your happiness can only be defined in association with someone else’s…. I've condition myself, through all these rites of passage, into believing true happiness is fed to me through other’s happiness and not from within.

This has me thinking…

You give 100% of yourself to your job/employer because you want them to be happy and keep you employed … What about giving yourself 100% because you love what you do and it makes you happy, which would translate to great results?
You give 100% of yourself to your friend because you want them to stay your friend…
What about giving yourself 100% by embracing you first and then watch who your true friends will be?
You give 100% of yourself to your relationship because you want to make sure your significant other is happy… What about giving yourself 100% because he/she makes you happy?
For those who have kids, you give 100% of yourself to them because you want to make sure they don’t want or need for anything… What about giving yourself 100% because when you are fulfilled, uncompromised and accomplished they will feed off your happiness?

When has being able to put you first become a selfish action and not ability?

I've come to a place in my life where, I’m learning that whatever my body, mind and heart desires, whatever makes my heart skip a beat and smile, when given into, will only bring me true happiness. Happiness generated from others is needed but temporary (even when you are the cause of it). Someone told me not too long ago that the mistake I’m making is to think life as I know it will halt if I stop worrying and carrying the weight of my world… She said, “Be spontaneous Rose and do for you and you will see things may not be exactly be the way you would have done them but your world will still be…” All of us are not made of Mother Theresa’s “genes”, granted we are all able to self-sacrifice for the good of others but we can’t think that just because something makes one "feel better", it automatically makes it a selfish action… to the contrary. If you are happy than I’m happy… was an old tune. If I’m happy than you will be happy…. this sounds just so much better and rings true to my ears.

As always, love others but yourself first...


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Two Way Road...

I was on my friend Facebook page and she had this status update that I keep thinking about... It was something like "Just because I consider myself your friend it doesn't mean you consider yourself mine... And that's OK. If I do for you, that's who I am. I have no right to expect from you in return...And that's OK"

Well well well...This is some heavy statement and somehow I don't think what I'm getting from it is the lesson that was meant to transpire. Now, I don't know what my friend thought of it -just saw a bunch of "likes" from friends- but she didn't elaborate...

Surprise surprise, I'm going to share my thoughts!

This is one of those statements, that for me, falls into the same basket as "If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and present him with the other cheek" it sound all good and dandy but shoot it makes no sense.
Why would I consider or call you a friend if there is no reciprocity in the sentiment? True enough you can't be everyone's friend just as much everyone can't be your friend but I sure won't be yours if you don't consider me for the title!
How funny friendship has a different meaning and manifestation depending on how old you are...
Remember  at a young age, kindergarten thru grade school, when you just had that 1 good friend, your best friend for life...
Then teenage year...this was the  popularity stage. All that matter was how many people you knew and wanted to be your friend.
Adulthood is when you became more selective and started to differentiate friends and acquaintances, you started to appreciate quality over quantity...

This past weekend I was over one of my "sisterfriend" house, catching up over drinks and good food while our kids were having fun; we started talking about the new year and what we will do different and I say to her " I definitely want to make more time for my friends" -see, I'm the kinda friend who you will always know that loves you because anytime I see or talk to you I will let you know that I do and you will feel it, but I'm also the same friend that you'll see least so...I want to make more time for my friends. To that she replied, "I agree with you but I'm also going to make room for new friends; I meet everyday so many people that want to be my friends and have a lot to offer so I want to have that door open"
I'm thinking, seriously??? where will you find the time? I can't even imagine.. I'm already trying to figure out  where and how I'll find the time to give more of me to the friends I have now between hubby, kids, work and some "me" time, let alone think about new friends

Friend + Relation = Friendship which is based from love, respect, loyalty. Friendship on a different level almost carries the same commitment, duty and work than a long term relationship/marriage... You have to make concessions, compromise, care, be there to support, forgive, be the shoulder to cry on, be the cheerleader, be non judgmental but honest, able to "tell it like it is" with love, when all fells be the one to pick up the pieces, when they successful be the one to cheer with "attaboy"...

So NO, I won't consider you a friend if I'm not an option in being yours,  that wouldn't be OK.
For my friends I will do and not expect anything in return and that's OK because that's who I am...
Don't sell yourself short by seeking friendship where it is none existent. The love, time and care you willing to put forth in any relation is all too precious to not expect it in return, always walk down a two way road...

And that's my 2 cents...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thru double sided mirror...

To my parents
The adults I want my children to become are the same adults my parents wanted me to be...

I use to think that it was culture "thing", when your parents from birth would already have planned out what your life should/would be, what your area of study should be, who you should marry -not as picking your husband/wife but as being good enough for their "perfect" child-...
I use to look at those kids who could go to public school with so much envy while I had to be in a year round boarding school, I use to not understand why I had curfews, use to not understand why my friends where always judged, not understand why others were always label as bad influence on me even when I knew I was the one...
My parents always seemed to know what was best for me, just as my friends parents knew what was best for their kids so I finally understood, it wasn't a conspiracy against me but a plague all kids had to go thru and I remember I vouched that I would never be that way with my children.

Entering adulthood is when I started to appreciate and understand all the road blocks my parents had built on my early journey in life, for the advises I followed I was now thankful, for the ones I fought against I wished I hadn't. So when I stopped seeing my parents with the eyes of a child, I saw the 2 beautiful beings that helped me give birth to myself... My mother is the most beautiful woman I know and with the help of my father, all I am I owe them. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from them as if with parenthood you build an insight, a vision of your child life.

Now as a parent myself, as a loving mother the vision of me and my actions is like looking thru a double sided mirror. The life I once challenged is the same I'm trying to raise my kids in by mimicking my own parents. From the time my kids were conceived, thru birth to now; I truly only have their best interest in heart and this includes knowing what's best for them because I have the wisdom of life  and the baggage that they yet to have.
My aspiration is for them to be the best human beings; my ambition is for them to be successful in all their endeavors, I long for happiness for them...
What kind of parents would we be if we were to not stir them the right way? I have now the power to mold, to shape the kind of adult they will turn out to be -God willing because the outcome is never a guarantee positive- but it would be a disservice if as parents we didn't take advantage of that.
There is no one that would or should know your child better than you, observe , allow them to be their own person by learning their personality, and when you say "no" or tell them "well life is not always fair" do it with love because no matter how hard you would try to explain that you know best...they will never fully accept it nor relate.

Thru the eyes of your child you would read your success or failure as a parent, thru the eyes of my kids I learn to appreciate, understand all the wishes, hopes, aspirations and goals my parents had for me and for that I'll be eternally grateful. My interaction with my kids has such "a deja vu" feeling that I know at the end they will be okay....

Love and let love...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The grass is not always greener...

When I read the story below and saw the video, sadness didn't even come close to describing  what I was feeling. I shared the link on my Facebook and now 4 days later I'm still thinking about it...however my train of thoughts are all over the place!
"  I cried because I had no shoes, until I met someone who had no feet" -Persian Proverb-
We spend our life being unappreciative of our circumstances, complaining about what we have or don't have, looking at what others have and thinking why do we always get the short end of the stick... But is that really so... Is complaining a way to motivate ourselves (weird) or is it just a cop out (most likely)?
How many time have I complain about my husband not washing the dishes the way I want it to be done? about no picking up his clothes and putting them away? about treating my kids like responsible little adults and not babies (chuckles I'm admitting I'm sometime out of order)... 
This story helps me put things in perspective because everyday, right or wrong,I have something to complain about and while I do appreciate the fact that I have someone who everyday listens to my positiveness or negativity, that I have my health, beautiful children, I'm able to walk, run, drag myself to work 5 days of the week; I still find the way to finding something wrong... 
At first, like many I'll guess, my thoughts about this story were how beautiful, how loving this man was/is, my heart was aching for him as I knew that he knew the little time they had left to be together, sad because they will never know how it is to grow old together, sad because she had finally married "her man" but only for how long, looking at the video I only saw happiness in everyone 's face and I thought this was the most beautiful, heart wrenching story I've heard about in a while.
Than days went by and I was still affected by the story but on a different angle. I started to think how sad they wasted so long to get married, better yet did he marry her because he knew she was dying. How cynical of me to think maybe he was just doing his good deed... Where is my compassion for him, for her and her last days with him as his wife? Why wanting to  know more, build my own version of things and not just taking things for what they are... I like to think it's my aching for her, how unfair her life had to end so fast, so young. That made me question and want to put blame on someone as if there was something that needed justice.
This story made me realize how important it is to enjoy life to the max, not waste anytime waiting for "special moments", "special person", "special occasions", "special life" but to the contrary take time creating all of those "specials" for your life. Stop complaining on how life has done you wrong when you don't get your way. Learn to appreciate the little you got or thing you got. Take your life in your hand and create your happiness, don't wait last minute to celebrate what you have, don't waste away the happy moments you could have now by waiting on what you think would be better moments.  The grass is truly not always greener on the other side of the fence...
Remember giving love feels just as good as receiving it...

NFL Star Loses His Wife to Cancer One Month After Marriage

THURSDAY DEC 29, 2011 – BY 
After being married to his wife Keasha Ruteleage-Draft for one month former NFL star, Chris Draft was stricken with the news that his wife succumbed to her battle with cancer. Chris who is an 11 year NFL veteran married Keisha Rutelage in a reception on November 27th, she passed on December 27th.
During their wedding Keasha wheeled her way down the aisle in a wheel chair, taking the last few steps to say her “I do’s” and salute her husband. Friends are asking that we send prayers to the family. We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mrs. Draft.
Below is footage from their wedding day.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Inspiration... Motivation... Still I Rise...

So in my previous post I said life was about creating the person you were meant to be... Reading over my that blog, I had the giggles as I found myself a bit hypocritical. Hypocritical not in an insincere way but more so as -if I have the insight on what to do why haven't I mastered the full ME yet?
Even better how do you go thru life knowing what some of your true longings are and not do anything about it? How do you ignore daily signs which remind you of aspirations you had and still have?...

I always loved to read. Loved it to the point I knew if I wasn't going to become a forensic psychiatric I was going to be a novelist (since my early teens I always held journals).Well between not being the best scholar, loving to dance and partying; reality had to sink in and by my early twenties psychiatry was no longer part of my future. Ha!
However, reading stayed a constant interest. 1992 when I came to the US, I had to discover and build a new catalog of English writers/books to keep me going. Naturally I was geared toward African American writers and the history of the culture. I loved the way ( in most fiction or non fiction books), the writers background were clearly the essence of the book. Loved how easily you could relate because their stories could easily be your story. They didn't have to use much imagination or make believe. Their surroundings, their experiences, their lives, the neighbors' lives were the book.
So in the process I was introduced to Toni Morrison, Alex Haley, Maya name a few among the greatest!

In my eyes, Dr. Maya Angelou was/is the epitome of a writer. When I started reading her work, my dreams got even bigger. I started thinking maybe I could be a "Maya Angelou" day!!!! Ha!

Fast forward to 07/2004, one of the greatest moment in my life happened. I was a coordinator in Food and Beverages at the Four Seasons Hotel. A morning call came thru and I looked at the call' screen and it read "Dr. Maya Angelou"! I remember my heart skipping a beat. I was so nervous but I also knew as part of my job I couldn't let out or show any excitement. I picked up the call, inquired of her needs in the most professional manner and to my surprise (or not really as I could only imagine her as a gracious, courteous and caring person) she started to ask me questions about little ol' me, where I was from, my life... In the 5 minute conversation we had, I managed to let her know how much I loved her books and she thanked me!!!! I mean I'm the one who needed to thank her!
In any case, later on that day, she had this signed copy of the well know "Still I Rise" poem delivered to me.
It is one of my dearest possession and one of my biggest motivation.

They say " don't reveal your New Year resolutions until they come true. Well I guess I can share this one.

This past year I have been itching more than ever to write and everyone around me been pushing me to do so. I would give it a good try, especially when something "important" will occur and shake up my life but quickly I would give up. My excuse has always been " I'm typing to slow", "my thoughts are coming to me faster than I can process and type them", and the latest "I need the Nuance Voice Recognition Software so I can just dictate my thoughts" ....Seriously.....
Black Friday 2011, Nuance ran an online promotion; 1 day only you could get the software which usually cost $200 for $49.99! I was soooo excited, this was the sign I was waiting for! Hubby came home that night I was beside myself and with only 2 hours left on the clock before the deal was over, I told him about the "splurge" I was about to make. He handed me his phone which had an email highlighted and told me to read it. The email was a receipt confirmation of the Nuance Software purchase he had made earlier that day when he found out about the promotion....
No one and I mean NO ONE could tell me that this wasn't a sign!
I waited impatiently for a week, everyday looking at my signed copy of Maya Angelou "Still I Rise" poem,  thinking if I could only have an ounce of her talent, soon my dream will rise high enough so one day a signed copy of my work will be framed next to hers.

And here comes the let down....

I received the software and spend 5 nights trying to get the darn thing to understand me and my accent, I fought the good fight but my inability to pronounce "H", my rolling the "R" or maybe just because the software is prejudicial to french natives (who knows at this point), got the best of me and again I gave up...
A month later, December 27th 2011, my friend Veronica Ronnie Marshall got her 1st book published and if this wasn't for me a testament that with commitment, hard work and faith, all is possible than I'm truly not destined to achieve my all and true potential. Her story, the legacy she wants to leave her children were part of her driving force and motivation. She was the additional sign I needed as she is the only person I know whom as achieved what I so far only dreamed of doing.

I'm going to close the circle by saying, look around you when remembering an old goal or ambition, don't label it as a dream because it is the universe way of reminding you of what you've forgotten.  Aspirations that have not come to, are a constant fire in the back of your mind, they wont disappear unless addressed.  Be in tune with yourself and you'll see the signs that will help you create the you you were meant to be.
Thank you to Maya Angelou for writing about rising yourself up regardless of any obstacles/hurdles along your way.
Thank you to my family and friends who take time to read me and push me to do better.
Thank you Ronnie (because now you know) you were a BIG motivation into the creation of this blog (baby steps towards bigger things)
So yes I can reveal that focusing on writing was one of my many resolution...

As always, remember to love and express yourself  anytime you have the chance....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012... Out with the Old, In with the New

My mind is always running at a thousand miles per minute. I’m always thinking of something, questioning something or having an opinion about something. It can be a situation, a picture (or image), a sentence or a word; anything can jump-start my mind.  Unfortunately, I don't always have the audience to converse with nor the proper avenue, with which to direct my different points of view. “Food for Thought” is my outlet. While I'll be sharing random opinions, stories and thoughts, I would love to get yours in return. I couldn't have possibly chosen a better day to start my blog; my heart is full of joy thinking of this New Year, full of possibilities. So for my first post, I just want it all to be about stepping into 2012 with positive attitude.

Twenty Twelve

What will you say differently than what was said starting 2011? What will you do differently than what you spent doing in 2011? What will you commit to this new year that will enhance your life, help you grow and make your journey full with anticipation...

They say, "Out with the old and in with the new", but I say "Hang on to the old" so you can “Go into the new". It will help to make you wiser and more experienced. It will make you cognitive of what's left behind (which you should learn from), and aware of your own ability to discern changes and the progress that need to take place.

2011 has given me my share of challenges, trials, upsets and doubts, offset with answers, solutions and happiness. I firmly believe that regret shouldn't be part of our life’s luggage. Every single action we make, regardless of its outcome, is one we set ourselves into. The mistake we consistently make is focusing on the "why" we did what we did, instead of making sure we move forward, not stepping on the same stones.

Believe in resolutions, believe in setting yourself up for all the blessings you are due to receive; only you can set that "right foot” forward toward a better you. Life is truly not about finding yourself, but about creating the person you were meant to be.

Let Twenty Twelve be a year full of blessings, joy, happiness, surprises, experiences, strength and growth. Let's make every single day the best it can be. Regroup every night, mindful of the lessons learned and aware of the missed opportunities. Remember to say "I Love You" every time you get a chance.

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