Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday Guest Post "Right is right! Wrong is wrong! No matter how old we are!" By Sandra Bryan

Sandra Bryan

I enjoy singing, dancing, playing the bass guitar, and watching movies. I am an avid football, baseball and basketball mom. I am very active in my church (I sing in the adult choir, play bass for the youth choir, and I'm the Asst. Youth Director). I also do a lot of voluntary work in the community.

Right is right! Wrong is wrong! No matter how old we are!

“Experience they say is the best teacher but does it make you above mistakes. How come we respect elders and their opinions so much even when we know they are humans like us, so they are fallible?”

Take three, four, five and six! Yes, that’s how many times I’ve put pen to paper (or should I say, fingers to keyboard!) in an attempt to put out this post. I have followed Rose's blog from the beginning, and I have been in awe of her capabilities to express her “food for thought,” and “life lessons.” Many times she has broached topics that I have questioned myself on. Her insight has left me relieved in knowing that I am not as crazy as people have made me out to be. When Rose asked me to appear as a guest writer on her blog, I was very hesitant; not due to a lack of subjects, but because I wasn't sure if I’d be able to arrange my thoughts and pen them in a clear and comprehensible manner. As I sit here for the umpteenth time, I find that my initial fears were founded. Indeed, there are so many things I want to talk about, that I’m finding it very hard to focus on one topic without veering off into left field. So, let’s hope that take six is the one.

Before I go any further, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sandra, I grew up in Belgium, but I’m originally from England. I currently live in a small town in Northeast Louisiana, about four hours from New Orleans. How did I get here you may ask? Well, as in most things in life, a man was involved. Indeed, I married my American crush, and we have three wonderful sons together. Moving to the US was an adventure in itself. Unlike most of my friends in Belgium, I was not hooked on all things American; and I most certainly did not aspire to find myself an American husband and live the American dream. So much for that huh! It didn't take me long to adjust to my new environment and make the South my home. However, there are some things I will most probably never get used to, and many questions I will continue to ponder on.

The other day I was listening to my favorite comedian on the radio. He asked the question; “should older people be allowed to say whatever they feel just because they are older?” At the time he had me in stitches with his anecdotes of his grandmother and the things she would say to people. I’m sure we all have an older person in our family who does not hold their tongue, and says whatever comes to mind regardless of the effects of their words. Personally, I have a great-aunt of whom everyone in my family is afraid, because she terrorizes everybody with her words and actions. Growing up I couldn't understand why everyone just sat back and took the abuse. But I guess it stems from the “respect your elders” upbringing that was prevalent. Now here’s where I have a little trouble. I am from the “respect your elders” generation, and I agree that children should adhere to this at all times. Nevertheless, I also believe that this respect should go in both directions. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines respect as; “the condition of being esteemed or honored. To consider worthy of high regard.” Respect plays a very important role in our everyday lives. From an early age, one is taught the principles of respect in order to function in society. We are expected to respect our parents, teachers, authority figures, and elders. However, in this day and age we find this principle dwindling, and many are left wondering why. Of course, we can enter into a debate about modern day parenting, education, discipline, etc., but here is my take on it.

As a child, I could not comprehend my great-aunt’s behavior and the total oblivion being afforded to her by the adults in her midst. In my mind, I secretly questioned the validity of the whole respect thing. I understood - well not really - let's say I grudgingly accepted that as a child I had no say in the matter. But, I could not for the life of me, conceive that grown ups would let themselves be insulted and treated with such disregard. When I came of age, I respectfully called my great-aunt out on her behavior indicating that I would not put up with her tongue lashings, and be bullied into doing things her way just because she was older than me. I don’t know if my forthrightness put her in a state of shock, but from then on I became her “favorite” (until we fell out for good!). I also inherited the role of spokesperson for other family members.

So, here I am many years later in my new hometown, surrounded by a diverse age-group of people. I work with children on a daily basis and I have adopted numerous aunties along the way. I found a church home and fulfilled my childhood dream of singing in a gospel choir. Here’s where I start having flashbacks! A lot of the older ladies are very outspoken, which in itself is not a problem. However, at times their comments can be very offensive. I've witnessed them sack kids out and chase potential church members away with their remarks. When I first pointed this out, I was told: “oh, that’s Ms. So-and-So, that’s how she is. Just ignore her; she’s old, blah, blah, blah.” Just like with my great-aunt, everyone was turning a blind eye. Try as I may, I could not let it go. Maybe it is the “defender of the underdog” quality that I acquired at a young age that would not allow me to just sit back and ignore certain events. Once again, I found myself respectfully letting a couple of these ladies know that their behavior was reprehensible and detrimental to the well-being of our congregation (especially the younger members).

I said all of the above to say this. I do not believe that the adult/senior/elder status keeps a person's “respect path” open indefinitely. On the one hand we are taught to apply the respect principle at all times. Then on the other hand we are told to treat others the way we want to be treated. For a lot of people, especially the young folks, that is where the confusion comes in. I have heard many kids say “why should Ms. So-and-So get my respect when she talks down to me?” or “why should I show respect to Mr. Man when he obviously doesn't give two hoots about me?” I can totally empathize with this reasoning, because I have also asked these questions at some point in my life. The maturity level of this new generation is way more advanced than that of my generation. Queries are made at a much younger age; therefore, the “because I said so” precept gets challenged at every turn, especially when it is in contradiction with the fundamentals of respect. How can one hold another in esteem, when it is blatantly obvious that this honor is not reciprocated?

As adults we have to lead by example, and not impose our will upon others just because we can. We have to be willing to satisfy the inquisitive minds of our youth and not condemn them for asking questions or disagreeing with our thoughts. We must remember that words have an everlasting impression on a person's being; therefore, we must choose them wisely. I believe respect is given automatically, but once it is lost, it has to be earned to be retrieved. Being older than someone does not mean one cannot lose their respect. It most certainly, does not give one authority to talk down or verbally abuse one's younger counterpart. I don't believe that being older, gives a person the right to voice one's opinion wherever, whenever or in whatever manner. How can we expect to cultivate positivity within the younger generation, if all we spew is negativity while hiding behind our seniority? How can we expect our youth to have self-respect, if we do not show them a minimum of respect? Let us be mindful of our words and actions, so we don’t become the butt of the next radio host's jokes. Right is right, wrong is wrong, no matter how old we are!

Picture courtesy of The Vecci Blog

Monday, October 29, 2012

Before I Can Say I Am, I Was...

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.” 

Donald Rumsfeld

The question begs to be asked…. How did I get here? Looking for all the questions to the answer that I Am…. Today I can make a statement about the person I know myself to be but do I fully know why I am (that person) and how I became (that person)?

So many things in life are facts; information that has been passed on to us through books, television programs, elders sharing their knowledge, etc. Along with that, we even have friends/acquaintances more often than ever, telling you “how it is, and what it is.” The problem is, instead of wondering who started these quests for knowledge and where and how the information came to be, most of us sing under the tune of “it is what is.”

I know the facts (answers) about who I am. For example: I’m independent, I’m emotionally strong, I’m loyal - to a fault, I’m introverted - sometimes to an extreme, I need my time alone, I need to recharge, and I don’t need to be in contact at all times. I’m genuine and only want genuine people around me. I don’t get upset quickly but when I do, I can be very intense and not easily forgetful. And, I’m extremely stubborn. I’ll listen but it will take a lot to change my mind. I’m passive aggressive at times…what can I say? I’m life-smart and practical. I’m feminine but can do without the “frills”. I’m a good mommy and will not tolerate disobedience or being defied by my kids. I can’t stand laziness and carelessness makes my blood boil… There are so many more facts about me but why am I all of that? How did I end up this person that I am today?
Do we blindly accept the answers because we are scared to look deep into us? Are we fearful that we might be challenged to reconsider, and consciously evaluate who we are, as maybe what we've accepted to be might not be what we would have wanted to be?
Have you ever been asked why you are the way that you are? Questions like, “why are you so stubborn?”, “why are you always so complacent?”, “why are you so shy?”, and even “why are you so nice?” To these you reply, “I don’t know…always been like that…maybe I got it from my mama or my uncle Bubba!”

Have you ever asked yourself this simple question; “Why am I the way I am?” In several instances, when analyzing a situation that has just occurred, I can (in retrospect) see where I went wrong in my attitude and behavior  What is intriguing is, it’s not a calculated reaction (which would simply mean that it is not a reaction from the genuine me), it is an instinctive, impulsive and a natural reaction that didn't require any deep thoughts - as it felt right - but stepping back, I can tell that it isn't  For that, I wonder Why? I am not debating about my outside appearance (which is a post on its own!) but about my mental state, my perspectives, my opinions, how I see and handle life, how I decide to live life and my general attitude… What makes Rose, what makes me tick, what motivates me… What makes me different in this world, where the obvious is our similarities but our dissimilarities is what we seek to highlight when seeking acknowledgment? While many might find it crazy to want to dig that deep (but while I know that we all are different), I really think that the reasons need to be known for our self awareness. Truly, there’s got be something more to it than the simple genetics and hereditary explanations for the varied behavioral patterns that we display.

I believe self-awareness boosts identity, builds self-esteem and earns you tons of respect. When you know your background, your culture and have set values and can back-up all your answers and decisions, you earn respect. When you dig deeper, self-educate and inform yourself, you leave the ambiguous behind and bring a level of a comfort to yourself and about the person that you are. Knowledge is power, but the greatest power is self-knowledge. If you do not really know much about yourself, how can you appreciate others? Most important, how can they value and appreciate you too?

"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power."

I know my characteristics. I know my personality (and the one of those who lives in my head J). I know what I can accept and what I can’t put up with but while I sit, I don’t know the source, the base, the origin, or the reasons why. It is too simple to say, “well, I am just because… take it or leave it.” And this is especially true when what you are sometimes isn't the nicest thing… Knowing to know everything about me is important because Before I can say I am, I was and I need to know who I was that made me who I am
When I understand (not just accept) why I am the way that I am, when I recognize and appreciate the every step on the trail of my journey, then I will know that I have not wasted any of the gifts given to me and that I have attained my full potential…
As a conclusion, knowing ourselves helps us fulfill our life as best as possible.

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'.”
Erma Bombeck

How about you, do you really know who you are and WHY you are the way you are? Are you interested in knowing the roots of your personality, or knowing the source of your instinctive behavior? 

To seeking and understandingof the full you...

Image courtesy of

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...


“Gratitude means to recognize the good in your life,
be thankful for whatever you have,
some people may not even have one of those things you consider precious to you (love, family, friends etc.).
Each day give thanks for the gift of life. You are blessed” 

I just want to take a minute to tell YOU that the life you have given me is one I am thankful for. It is only because I know the magnitude of the gift you made of me that every day I ask more of myself!
I’m FOREVER in your debt…



Friday, October 26, 2012

Success & Failure… Two Different Sides, Same Coin…

 “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 
~Maya Angelou

Failure is a part of the process of achieving success.

I’m 41 years old. And to be completely honest, I’ve accumulated a “sh*t-load” of poor choices and failures in many areas of my life. From personal failures to professional failures, you would think that clinical depression might be my only resort, or my default source of comfort. Maybe it would be my payment for everything I’ve done wrong, amongst the few good choices I’ve made, and successes I’ve achieved; but no… I have a philosophy which has judiciously worked for me and that is, “there are no such things as irrelevant failures, all are purposeful negative outcomes … all are lessons for us to learn from.”
Yes, I have failed in the past but guess what? I no longer live there anymore; tomorrow has come leaving behind yesterday, while empowering me with the knowledge to move forward.

“The road to success is always under construction”
~Lily Tomlin

My road to success through my failures…

An aikido student asked his master, “Master – how is it that you never lose your balance?” The master replied, “I continuously lose my balance. I just regain it faster.”

The road to success is not an easy one to traverse, with many deterrents and pitfalls along the way. While success is worth achieving, it certainly doesn't come easily. My road to success is a slow and steady one. I have goals that I work on every single day, and I don’t stop and get comfortable along the way. Nothing is easy to the point where the accomplishment of one single objective/goal will bring me the satisfaction and contentment needed to finally say, “I’m successful, I’m happy.” I have so many goals, and I feel (actually, I know) that the achievement of them is essential to me feeling complete, feeling accomplished. And while I’m a work in progress on my quest to success (personal and professional), I allow myself to acknowledge my failures and accept them because they are life’s way of weeding out the wrong answers so the right ones can surface.
I don’t judge myself based on my past and my failures. I may not fully be where I want to be (and how I want to be living my life) but I know I’ll get there someday because I’m not quitting!
Let me also bring some clarity to my philosophy, just so that you don’t think I’m endorsing failure. When I fail at something, I don’t jump up and down – and do the happy dance - because I’m happy that I failed (and have gained the opportunity of another life lesson); trust and believe. I wish all my trials would have a successful outcome on the first run but I’m not previewed to the crystal ball of my life. I’ve simply learned to be humbled by my failures, and put things in perspective. It reminds me that I am only human, with human capabilities and knowledge (as the saying goes, “To stumble is human.”). I have also come to learn and experience that failure makes our great moments in life, our successes, that much better…

How funny is it that, the very electricity I’m using to write this blog was a product of over 10,000 failed experiments. Thomas Edison failed so many attempts at creating something monumental, that you would have absolutely expected him to throw in the towel, at least after the first 1,000. There are too many examples of singers who were passed up by record labels, only to keep pushing harder, and end up becoming superstars. Even Michael Jordan (considered the greatest basketball player ever), was cut by his high school team…. can you imagine!? 

It’s usually the biggest failure, let down that empowers us to seek and set ourselves into achieving our full potential, achieving better for ourselves.  It’s the ability to bounce back from scary, stressful choices that end up being the most rewarding.  Without failure, there would be no growth, no success.  But remember, failure, just like everything in life, is meant to be learned from and then released to the universe for a better return…

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation,
hard work, and learning from failure.”
~Colin Powell

What are your thoughts on the role of failure and learning in success? In your success…

To looking at failure with a positive eye...


Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

"In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond.
So hold the hand of the person who loves you rather than expecting them to hold yours"…

A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.
The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter,
‘Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don’t fall into the river.’
The little girl said, ‘No, Dad. You hold my hand.’
‘What’s the difference?’ asked the puzzled father.
‘There’s a big difference,’ replied the little girl.
‘If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go.’

“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you're going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
C. JoyBell C.

The most difficult virtue but the most noble of mankind is Trust. It is also the most important and respected virtue a person can have in life. For it to be a relation between husband and wife, friends, family members, parents and their children or even in a work environment TRUST is the quintessence basis of it all. Trust binds us together, makes us believer to a cause or person, and brings ease to forgiving. Trust is a deserving gift; you earn it when bringing someone to life (your children have blind trust toward you) and through your behavior in life. Life experience will dictate how we share or hold back our trust. We can help develop the attitude of trust toward us but this only happens if we realize and understand the importance of the virtue and know to take it seriously.

To trust and love,

Friday, October 19, 2012

The "Maiden Identity", Life I Miss...Sometimes...

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”
Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes I seat back and think of how different life would have been if I wasn't married, if I didn't have my two beautiful children, and if I didn't have the responsibilities that comes along when having to nurture, protect a family (your family).
Yes sometimes I wonder… Not because I regret the life I have and all its inclusion but just because at time I get overwhelmed in my mission to love, provide, raise, and be the anchor, the magnet which holds everything together. And when sometimes I lose myself in all the “must” in my life, I’m reminded to make myself a priority. So the need to slightly remove myself and recharge becomes so evident and necessary that it is when I sometimes think… What if…

Yesterday I posted on my Facebook status “It is a sad moment when you have to lock yourself in your bathroom to escape your own "motormouth" daughter...
God thank you for the virtue of patience you gave me but can you please increase it up a notch, I'm slowly but surely losing the battle!”
and while it might have sound funny to most, it was a reality. At that moment it was my reality with my daughter, but she is not the sole reason why I need God to kick it up a notch. At times I also have to find escapes, reasons and excuses to remove myself and breathe away from the hubby, my son and my friends. I have to seek that quiet space so I can put my thoughts together, so I can be just Rose. Not the hubby’s wife. Not “the” mother. And not “the” sister or friend…just Rose.

Does that make me selfish? Or am I just being human? I know this doesn't mean or scream I am a bad mom…I actually know that I am a great mom. I know that I am not the perfect representation  of what a wife should be…but I know I am the wife he needed to have. Responsibilities do not scare me…but I remember those days when my only worry was “do I feel like getting up and doing anything today?” so sometimes…only sometimes… I miss it… I miss the unattached me, the motherless me. I miss her but …do not wish to rewind time and be her again

When I entered the covenant of marriage and signed on for the life and responsibilities that the contract encompassed I knew that it was no longer a “me thing”, it was now an “us thing” that for thousands of years people have engaged themselves into nurturing, protecting, loving and growing old together. Marriage is a team collaboration where the parties involve has to give in and give up a little (or a lot) so it can be strong union. When I “gave up” my maiden name it was not because I was losing myself and giving up my core identity but because I knew I wanted to create a partnership, a team, a home where that covenant would live and flourish. 
When we decided to have kids, it was another adjustment for me…for us. We signed on for limited social life, sleepless nights, being broke on a constant basis became us J, no privacy, and no time off… Every day is full of tasks that have nothing to do with you but all about those little creatures you brought into your world; it is at time exhausting, frustrating but so exhilarating and fascinating in the same breath. The bond between my children and I is unlike anything, any love or emotion I've ever experienced; it totally sealed together the changed I started when committing to the hubby. And while now I have cuddles in queue, kisses to infinity and two little angels/monsters that think I’m their world; I also have grey hair, wrinkles caused by them and possessions I call my own but which are being treated as common properties…so yes I miss that alone me at time…just for a split second…

I have the life I always wanted (minus a couple of dollars but shoot life is not over yet, still have a few goals to achieve) I am not trying to come across envious of the green grass across the street (as I’m not sure it is as healthy as mine is) I am quite happy rolling in mine even though mine as some dry spot here and there, and show sign of use J.
My children are one of my main motivations in life; they are the reason why I’m happy and complete. The hubby is till to this day, the one I would give up my maiden name for if I had to do it all over. So when sometimes I do want to be seated on that bench alone and have no worries other than what’s next; I need those quick moments, those quick flashback moments to allow me to look back and confirm that at the end of the day I am where I need to be, with those I am meant to be with and living the life I am destined to have…

“So a woman whose daily life is overwhelming her learns to step back. Is this a cure for her endless problems? Of course not. Simple is not simplistic.”
Joanne M. Friedman

How about you? Do you sometimes look back at your life before this moment now and wish it was any different or just to remind you of the progress you've made?

To not feeling guilty for looking back,

Photo courtesy of Purity

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Guest Post "Can Casual Dating Lead You Down To The Road To No Relation At All?" By Autumn Garrison-House

Autumn Garrison-House

My name is Autumn and I have been asked to by my wonderful big sister to do a guest Blog. I am a mother of two wonderful little people - Aniyah (5), and Tahari (11). It was through my career in the Hotel and Restaurant industry that I initially met Rose, and we've been close friends ever since. I have worked for several major corporations in the industry and am currently a waitress for Chili’s, near my home in sunny Ormond Beach, Fl.


Can Casual Dating Lead You down the Road to No Relationship at all?

“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because you’re combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.”
~Lisa Kleypas

Next month I will be turning the ripe (old) age of 35 and I have yet to be married. For some strange reason this has a lot of my friends worried. Time and time again, I hear that I am not getting any younger and I need to find a husband. My current dating status is single.  I am dating several men, none of whom are leading me down a path to a serious relationship, however; I would say that I am content in my current situation. Hey…. variety is the spice of life! Does this mean that I don’t want a long term relationship or a husband? NO. However, due to past relationships, I am not looking as hard as I used to. The reason being; when it’s meant to be it will be. Yet and still, my friends feel that since I am casually dating, I will not find “Mr. Right.” Well I want to know, says who?

Recently I was listening to the “Michael Baisden Show” and he touched on this subject too.  Funny enough, his opinion was the same as my girl-friends. Women (and men) who casually date (sexually or not), are not leaving themselves open to someone for a real relationship. My friends tell me that sleeping with a man quickly or even sleeping with multiple men will not land me a husband. Michael Baisden thinks casual dating/sex will not leave a person (mainly women) emotionally available to be in a long term relationship. Well, why is it okay for men to do this and not women? Sorry…. but I’m not big on double standards. As for me - personally, I tend to go against the gender rules when it comes to relationships. I get it; women are emotional creatures and our feelings tend to lead us, rather than our heads leading us. Well yes, I get emotional - but I am, by no means, overly emotional when it comes to men. I enjoy sex just as much as them and that has nothing to do with my emotions. So what I’m older! So what I may sleep with a man within the first week of knowing them! Trust me when I tell you, it’s only for my benefit! So why does that make me damaged goods? I am still capable of giving that one man (Mr. Right) a loving, respectfully fulfilling relationship. No one ever says to a man, that he is getting too old or that they shouldn’t sleep with too many women. So why am I any different? Hell….. I’m in my prime; sexually or otherwise! I’m a big girl, trust me I can handle it!!!

Here’s the deal. Do I want a relationship? Yes. Would I like a husband? Sure. However, I am tired of putting myself out there and giving all of myself and getting nothing in return. My last serious relationship lasted a year and a half and ironically, he is one of the men I am dating now. We are still intimate and yes I still love him. Now the other two men, (yes, I said two) just so happen to be friends…. I know, I know I’m terrible, but hey! One is more like a booty call (I’ll admit) and the other himself is not emotionally available to be in more than a casual dating situation. Yes they are aware of each others’ presence and no they are not exactly happy but a little competition is good for you. Either way, all parties involved are protected and are fully aware of the situation.

Like I said, I am more than willing to enter a committed, long-term relationship but I am not willing to lose myself to a one sided relationship. Yes, I know that love is a gamble and you never know when you give your heart to someone if they will give you theirs in return. So for now, I am leaving my options open to any possibilities. I personally don’t think that the fact that I am seeing multiple men is going to keep me from meeting “Mr. Right.” I don’t think that this is not leaving me emotionally unavailable to anyone who wants to make themselves emotionally available to me. I will not say, however, that what my friends and Michael Baisden say are wrong, maybe just wrong for me. At this point in my life, I may be in my mid-thirties but I am still young and when God is ready to place that man who is meant, I will be ready. Until then, I plan on enjoying myself!!! Life is too short to worry about their opinion!!!

“I can't promise you a perfect relationship, but what I can promise you
is that as long as we're trying, I'm staying.”

Picture courtesy of

Monday, October 15, 2012

What Would You Give Your Life For?...

“…Sure there may be risk involved, but that's true for anybody. But you get through it and life goes on. And when it's all said and done there will be a little piece of immortality with Jackson's good looks and my sense of style, I hope. Please, please I need your support. I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” …
~Shelby quote in Steel Magnolias

“I'd rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing Special” … I can read this quote out loud over and over again as I love the sentiment, the principle and the thought behind it…but…where do we draw the line? Or should we draw a line?

Last night I watch “Steel Magnolias” (the remake) and even though I totally remembered the emotions I felt when I saw the original, back in 1994-1995 (I’m truly a sucker for them feel good or emotional movies…you’d think I could cry on command J), watching it this time brought back another flow of tears, uncontrollable tears, as it hit me even harder. I was sobbing, with snot dripping down my nose (thanking God that “the hubby” was fast asleep and my daughter had just left me to go to bed. She had already seen the movie and I would have never ever heard the end of it!) but then 10 seconds later, I was laughing hysterically through my tears at one particular scene. The one where M’Lynn is so upset and hurt that she is screaming her pain and she feels like she just wants to hit something, someone just to take her pain away. After that, Clairee grabs Ouiser, hides herself behind her as if she was a shield and then tells M’Lynn to go ahead and hit Ouiser… hysterical!

The emotions I felt this time around were very much different. While I remember being emotional, it sure was not to the level I felt last night and it was so clear to me why I was so out-of-sorts this time.
It was simply because I am a mother. And other than the joy she experienced, the anxiety, worry and that pain M’Lynn is feeling throughout the course of the movie are all feelings brought on by a situation that is my worst nightmare…

In the movie, “Steel Magnolias,” Shelby - who suffers from diabetes and who regardless of the doctor’s pessimistic prognosis in regards to the impact that carrying a pregnancy will have on her health - decided regardless of the risk to have a baby. She said, “I'd rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

Was that selfish on her part to want to bring a child in this world knowing the possible consequences? Was that self-regard on her part to want to fulfill her dream knowing that she might not be there to see it fully come to term? Was she just thinking of the moment and forgetting the consequences? Was she being egotistical,  not thinking of who could potentially be left behind? Your parents, your siblings, your husband… and that child you’re so willing to sacrifice everything for…

I thought of my children and prayed that if ever in that predicament, they will know to make the decision that will never jeopardize them being with us, being with me…
But isn't that “the pot calling the kettle black”, isn't that me being the selfish one? I know the joy of being a mother. I had that yearning of wanting to give birth. I know the pain of trying and having a hard time carrying through… so how could I not understand and want someone else dear to me to want to experience, to live that love?
My answer is again simple… I am a mother…

This situation is a worst-case scenario and hopefully I will never have to live it. Yes, there will always be a reason why you can’t do something but I would never want to be the road block in my child life.
There are so many “wonderful” things that we want to experience and the question is: are you going to let anyone stop you? So just where are you today, I don’t need to remind any of us how time is speeding ahead of us. It’s time to start living now…

Right now, right here, what 30 minutes of wonderful would represent for you? What will be worth achieving, acquiring, experiencing if only but 30 minutes?...
What comes to your mind as you read this question? A word, an image, a feeling or a thought…what is missing that if only you will feel complete once you realize it.
Write it down, pin it on your “must” board and let the piece of paper give you the motivation you need every time you walk in front of it…

To our 30 minutes of wonderful…

Picture courtesy of

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Sunday Quote of The Week...

Thankful for the chance to keep on…

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. “
~ Marcus Aurelius

Words can’t properly begin to convey how thankful my heart is today. October 10th 2011 on his birthday, I almost lost my husband of 15 years, my friend of 21 years…the father of my children, after a freak asthma attack Let Go and Let God

I’m thankful that after days of incertitude he was given the chance not to do over but a chance to keep on. This past week, regardless of the commitment I had made for myself I put everything on hold so I could make sure we celebrated this additional year in his life. For him, we were just celebrating his birthday in style J  (as he didn’t share with me any thoughts), for me it was deeper than that… It was making sure he knew how important he was to me, to us and how lucky and blessed we were to have been given this 2nd chance to reset/restart the life that almost stopped.
There is information that only God is preview to; divine data that only he knows; like the number of days we have on this earth. We need to learn to value our days, to cherish the gift that is our lives because without this appreciation all that we possess has no meaning…no relevance.

As we dream and wish… as we work toward and achieve… and as we acquire and own… Remember the one who gave us a season of life to live and to accomplish.  
No one knows what is to come, what your next minute will be made of or bring to your life BUT we all know time as been given to us to make the best of it



Friday, October 12, 2012

Sometimes Enough is Enough...

“I love it when people just take advantage of you;
they just seem to think that they have found the easy way out. They just seem to think that you can just stop and pay their way through life so that they can just relax and coast. But soon they will find out what will happen if they keep on
Not doing what they should do and laying everything on you”
Jerry L Abrahamson

 I am someone that is very selective of who is part of my circle. I am someone that loves to love. I’m the kind of person that, if I call you friend, sister or “sister-friend,” you know it is based on a profound meaning which usually will bind us for life. I’ll give my love (which I have in abundance), my time (the little I have to spare L) and I will give you 150% of my trust (because, in order to be where you are in relation to me means that I believe you hold me to the same level as I hold you in my life). This - all in all - makes me very possessive and very guarded of my relationships.
But I’m also very well aware of when I can be vulnerable and when I am being taken advantage of… Some people are more subtle than others, while others are just obvious about it; which to me translates as them labeling you as stupid and with no back bone.
Your friend today can turn out to be your worst enemy tomorrow… isn't that a sad statement? However, on many occasions it turns out to be true...
For me there are not many things that can shake a sound friendship. Being mad or upset is a temporary feeling that dissipates and that you can easily get over, but betrayal and disappointment  are 2 feelings that change everything…

I don’t know how to love 50% … how can you?  I don’t know how to be a fair-weather friend. Even though I may not call every day, or I may not reach out as many times as it would be required in the Friendship Etiquette book, I don’t know how to fake… I tolerate but I can’t fake. You will sense that I am mad and you will know in what regard I hold you. You will feel that things are not what they used to be or what they should be because you won’t see the same level of effort or regard coming from me…
Very rarely in my life do I shut people down. I know my biggest self-liability is having extremely high expectations of people that I hold close to my heart. Because I recognize that, I also have the ability to forgive and move on quickly (notice I didn't say forget).
The sentiment behind everything I say or do is always sincere and reflects what’s in my heart and are demonstrated in all my actions…

“The hubby” and I had a fantastic extended weekend (4 days) with family and new friends, filled with laughter’s and joyous moments. That said, at some point I had to pull myself out of the situation because my fun was being taken away from me. Not because of any actions towards me but because of my judgment and opinion of others who were involved in the situation. While I thought I was being diplomatic and inconspicuous (about my frame of mind), feelings of disappointment were taking over and casting a shadow on anything that could be positive. Joe Clifford Faust said, “If you’re honest with yourself as a writer, trying to tell the best story you can, your story will be an honest one. And your values will come out, no matter how hard you try to disguise them.” This quote sounds just as true in our everyday lives (at least in mine). No matter how hard you try to put a bandage on a situation and camouflage your true feelings, they always show.

My cousin’s hubby later that evening said to me, “Rose, I looked at you all day and all I saw was someone trying to be something that they are not.” But I was being me; I was being the person that does (at times) feel like enough is enough. While I do have to accept you, I don’t have to like or entertain your behavior  I felt the part of me kick in, the part that everyone has the right to feel sometimes, which is that you don’t have to like everybody. It may take a lot for me to get this insensitive (which I think that’s why my cousin’s hubby was surprised) but I'm an everyday Jane!

I can’t stand when people feel that it’s okay to abuse others’ kindness. When you see others as a free ride to fulfilling your selfish needs, there’s a problem. And I’m even more stunned and hurt when that behavior comes from people I care about, value and deem to be non-erasable parts of my life.
I have indeed done my share of disappointing others. I have suffered the consequences that my selfish behavior has brought to my life BUT I have learned and never have perpetrated the same mistakes. I definitely would not intentionally try it again because I may have dodged a bullet once and gotten away with it.
My process that leads me to remove myself from that kind of toxic entourage is to step back (why allow myself to be taken advantage of?), self-reflect (did I miss something? Am I too trusting?), and re-evaluate (did I misjudge? Was it blind faith?).
I can’t help the resentment and angry feelings which I can’t contain. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice… shame on me and that’s where I am… I let myself get caught off guard repeatedly by someone I misjudged. I did put things in perspective, and when you cannot always remove the negative from your life, you can easily decide to ignore and not entertain it. I try to align myself with people that have the same values and morals as I do (not to say my belief system is “THE” one to have but it is mine that I strongly believe in and behave accordingly). Isn't when they say, “Birds of a feather flock together” so true! Commonality… Kindred spirits…

This is the thing: We all have our limits and although I put myself out there sometimes because I believe in the connection or sometimes on blind faith, once I know the underlying reasons, the true “dishonest” intentions, the core of your real motivations - I can no longer take a chance on letting me and my loved ones be taken advantage of… I can’t simply give, give and give to someone that doesn't appreciate. Because they are cognizant of your effort to help but because they feel like it’s incessantly due to them.
However, one thing that my cousin is right about, I need to let the resentment go so my behavior isn't portrayed as negative. I need to not reverse the roles. After all, you can’t be friends or love everybody; so once you decide and come to terms with how you deal with someone that lets you down and disappoints you…move on!

What about you, how much are you willing to accept and put up with from love ones? Is there a limit to what is forgivable?

To knowing your limit and sticking to them,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday Guest Post "A Break in Heartbreak" by Gare Billings

Gare Billings

My name is Gare Billings. I’m from a small town in upstate NY. I write, sing, work and play. I just turned 25 in May and it was my defining year; the one in which I decided to pursue my own happiness. I decided so because of this blog. Rose Sanderson inspired me to do a lot and she is one of my best memories from the 10 months I spent in Boston, trying to find myself. When she approached me to be a guest blogger, I initially was hesitant because she set the bar high. I was nervous about what to write and she told me, “Write whatever you want, Gare!” I’d love to include more in my bio, but hopefully with time everyone can get to know me through my writing. So here’s to my then, my now and my future. I’ll share it with whoever reads. Cheers!

A Break in Heartbreak...

Three months. Nineteen months. To most people, this may feel like less than a minute or more like a century. To me, these were two defining times in my life that brought me closer to finding, losing and destroying myself.
Growing up, I was inquisitive and smart. I was mature and I understood…. I listened. I knew the big and the small. I understood that it wasn't Santa eating the cookies I laid out on Christmas Eve (that happened to be my father’s
favorite). I understood that in life, people fell in and out of love and physically, emotionally and mentally you lost people along the way. Your best friend at seven could be your worst enemy at eight.
I’d always been hopeful.
Thankful for the good and trying to fix the bad. Thankful that I could run and play and grow up as fortunate as I was. Trying to fix the bad in the depression I dealt with in high school, the eating disorder I wouldn't admit to until years later, but the hardest was my heart. My first relationship was a plane nose-diving. I fell for a friend, someone who listened and cared. High school ended and by the middle of my freshman year of college I was engaged. Seven months later, the engagement was over, the champagne was gone and I dealt pretty well with saying goodbye to the love that I don’t know to this day if it was real or not. 

To spare the gruesome details, I dated after that. Some light and some dark relationships. Four years later at 22, I was done. Love wasn't good to me. I’m far from perfect, and realized my mistakes. I searched for love. I hunted and climbed mountains to find it. At 22, I stopped looking. I focused on myself and my relationships with my family and my friends.
Heartbreak is one of those things that everyone has dealt with in one way or another. You've either needed a shoulder to cry on when you thought the world was ending, or you've been the shoulder that saved the world in your grieving loved ones eyes.
So here I was, at 22 not even thinking of love and relationships. I was working, gearing up for the Christmas holiday in the retail world and excited for the New Year. I was content until my world turned upside down and spun me a web I am still fighting to get out of. A mutual friend wanted to “set me up”. Fine. I’ll do it. I had no expectations for once and expected it to be a big flop. Well my friend gave this…guy my number. He text me that night and we went back and forth for four hours of great conversation. We met up two days later. Three days after that, I was staying with his family and admitting to him that I don‘t usually fall this quickly but I had. He agreed, he had too.
From that point on, I found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We mutually declared falling for each other pretty hard. Like, hammer on the nail hard. Three months. Some of the best things in life can start so fast and come to a screeching halt before you’re prepared for it. Maybe things moved too fast, maybe he got cold feet. Maybe he panicked. Maybe is a lot of things. Maybe is bullshit. I won’t torture myself over that. I enjoyed that three months and found an amazing person that I wanted to keep in my life. There’s no keeping someone who doesn't want to stay.

Nineteen months. That’s where I am at. After the breakup, I rebound emotionally quite quickly. He didn't deceive me, purposely hurt me or break my heart. It was a  “bad timing, bad place” situation. My heart was broken over letting go of what I didn't want to. Love. I say I rebound quickly because I didn't cry. I moved. I didn't run, I moved. I needed a change and I looked for it, so I moved to Boston. I started a new life and still memories haunted me. Slowly and lightly at first, like that time of the year when we met only a year before. Hearing his name mentioned by others.
But now, time keeps going on and the more it does, the more I realize I just pushed things aside.
The progress…or lack of in nineteen months is frightening. I realized I wasn't over what I thought I had accomplished at all. I've heard from him a few times. That’s when it hurts, that’s when it pushes me to question what I've ran from mentally. The feeling I’d felt was best described in a YouTube video of Adele describing one of her songs. She bluntly said she imagined this man she loved and let go twenty years into the future. “I have this thought of me finding him and seeing him with this wife and kids and white picket fence and I’m still kind of on my own.” I heard that, it made my heart drop from my chest to my toes. That’s how I felt. Not arrogant in the sense that I know he’ll come back. Just hopeful, in a sense that if he comes back, he comes back and if he doesn't then I’ll just float around on my own.

He was the first person I dated that I didn't conform to. I didn't change my personality around and try to be the person he was searching for. I just was 100% myself and maybe that was at my own fault.
I've described how I felt to my best friend over a long heart-to-heart recently and in my head, it sounded fair. I am fine being alone if I can’t have what I want. I don’t cry every day over him. I don’t have any ill feelings for him. I miss him.
Simple as that. “It’s not fair to you though…”, my best friend whispered to me. “You need to get over it at your own pace. Not that your feelings don’t make sense, they are normal. I've been there too. But, you be alone until you need to and then you go from there.” She was so right (she always is). So today I may have my head held high. Maybe tomorrow, I hear a song that makes me think of a time during those three months and it makes the butterflies in my stomach scatter. I go from here. I take it day by day. I may be hurt now but I might not be in a week. A month. Another year. I may never stop. I know one thing, and always will; I am lucky to have had someone come into my life that I could miss this much. So I may get the blues, I may be sad. I’ll take it one day at a time like my wise, cherished and best friend told me to do and go from there. I’ll take a break from heartbreak and visit what I’ve neglected from time to time. Me.

“You can’t stop what’s done to you, you can only survive it.”
 - Georgia Rule (2007)

Picture courtesy of Sleeping With Savannah

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Evil Mother-In-Law that Makes ALL In-Laws From Hell...

“Yes, life could be better. But it could also be worse. Don’t believe me? Allow me introduce you to my mother-in-law.
~Jarod Kintz


Say what you will about in-laws; there hasn’t been a joke or horror story that hasn’t been told. But why does that automatically give all in-laws a bad reputation? Okay, granted - they are not all bad, but boy when they are bad…. it’s full blown! All of us (when we are potential brides) are so apprehensive about that moment when you have to meet the family of “the hubby.” On top of the anxiety you are already feeling, to hear of and know about the many horror stories floating around out there doesn’t help…
But in all honesty, what are we most anxious and fearful of? It’s meeting the heart of every family. We dread meeting the “one” that holds everything together; meeting the “one” who without your consent knows your life will be miserable… Let’s call it what it is – it’s meeting the mother of your man that makes the meeting with the in-laws a frightful process!

Some mother-in-laws deserve every single bit of the bad rap they get.
From thinking you are not good enough for her son…
From thinking you are a bad influence on her son…
From feeling excluded from conversation or decisions when she is involved…
From jealousy of the relationship with her son…
Have you ever heard the story of this British mother-in-law Carolyn Bourne, whose nasty email to her soon to be daughter-in-law went viral (click here for the full The Full Letter)? Well well well, that story is the perfect reason why we fear meeting our in-laws (the mother in-law, more specifically). The conflict often arises from an assumption that each is criticising or undermining the other woman. But this mutual unease may have less to do with actual attitudes and far more to do with persistent female stereotypes that few of us manage to keep in the back of our mind and not shake off completely. 

I had hoped that my in-laws would be loving, but I knew that their love wouldn’t be unconditional. A parent's obvious evaluation of a son's spouse, combined with the vulnerability of how “they” may change the special relationship they have with their child, is a fear strong enough to cast doubt on the new relationship they are being introduced to. And I (as a daughter-in-law) had to find a way to present myself as a team member and not as an intruder, so I didn’t shake their family unit or my upcoming marriage down to its brand new roots!

I started imagining the meeting and picturing every scenarios possible…I came to the conclusion that when I’ll finally meet his sister she would be overprotective of her brother. In being much younger than me, if I could just be the big sister (at the right moments) and find things to relate (with her), I knew I would be able to find my way to being liked. As for Dad…well, I knew that no matter what; at the end of the day, even if dad did like me, I would never have his open approval unless I won “mom’s” heart first! After all, who wants to argue with their spouse about this new person trying to infiltrate their family circle? A wise man knows the battles he should engage himself in and it’s definitely not one involving his son’s potential wife and whether or not she’s “worthy” of him. Let’s let mom be the judge!
There is a saying that goes, “You can always tell how a man will treat his wife by the way he treats his mother.” That has certainly been my biggest challenge; thinking I had to step up and compete against the amazing relationship he has with his mother.

The first time I went to Detroit to meet “the hubby’s” family, I was so scared. Here I am, this girl from God knows where, who has been having this long distance relationship with their only son. Even better, I was coming to mark my territory.  And who do I meet? I’m facing this beautiful woman (who looks more like his sister than his mother), full of class and poise. I witness an unbelievable bond between them that makes me feel that not only will she never feel I’m good enough for him - but at this point I’m starting to wonder if I even want to attempt getting involved and becoming the third wheel!?
I was conscious of everything I was saying and doing. Seeing me in his environment made “the hubby” laugh. To me, it was an exercise in making a good impression. Don’t complain about a thing, don’t curse, and don’t be fazed by any situation… I knew every time I would turn around (or leave the room), the conversation would be about me, what I said, did or did not do; and I wanted all talk to be positive. I wanted her to like me and see how good I was for her one and only son. And even though there is another quote that says, “A son is a son until he gets a wife,” I wanted to make sure she didn’t feel I was coming to take him away from them. Instead, I would be adding to his life… to my life… and to their lives.

But what happens when you meet the mother-in-law from heaven…

I feared the meeting. I feared not being good enough. I feared “the hubby” not wanting to be with me if they didn’t like me. And although all my fears were well founded, they were all put to rest quickly. The beautiful, poised, classy woman I met welcomed me with open arms and an open mind. Even though I knew I was in the trial period for her, she eased the process of us getting to know each other by making me feel welcome and comfortable. She proudly introduced me to the family. She allowed bonding time between us to happen and she opened up to the different culture I was from; to the different person I was and showed me love. She embraced my family - she showed concern toward my friends’ painful circumstances and included me and mine, not as part of her extended family but as part of her family!

There isn’t a day that I speak with her when she does not tell me how much she loves me; and means it.
There isn’t a holiday, anniversary or birthday that gets overlooked by her, especially when I’m the recipient…
There isn’t a situation when she doesn’t remind me that, “No matter what, he is your husband above all.” As a matter a fact, her favourite thing to say to me is, “I brought him into the world and brought him this far and now it’s in your hands to take him all the way.”
There isn’t a situation where she doesn’t keep a bi-partisan hat on, when she is needed in helping us in our personal mess…
And even though we all know who she birthed, her attitude could never give away which one of us her child is…
She has time and time again, showed and overwhelmed me with love. For that reason, I have this standing joke that between her son and me, I’m her favourite… and this might just be the case…

My MIL is my mom away from my mom. Because of this, God sent a gift to my life. I have gained a man (the “hubby’s father), that I proudly call dad as he holds proudly the role my father can no longer hold in today’s world.  My actual father is looking down upon me from the heavens…. Through my MIL, I also gained another baby sister to whom I have a bond that I can describe mostly as a gift that is irreplaceable. A gift almost as special as the one she is to her grandkids - there is no love that can replace the one she has for them and the one they have for her.
When I met her and saw the bond she had with her son, I could only hope that the love and respect he was showering her with was going to be what I would receive. Not only that, but I also wished that I would experience that one day with my own son…

And this is what happens when you are blessed with a mother-in-law who is a gift from heaven…you get accepted into the in-law family we all dream of…

"You are the mother I received the day I wed your son. And I just want to thank you, Mom, for the things that you have done. You have given me a gracious man with whom I share my life. You are his lovely mother and I his lucky wife. You used to pat his little head and now I hold his hand. You raised in love a little boy, then gave me a man"

What about you? What has your experience been with your in-law? has it been one from Hell or one from Heaven?

To the lucky daughter (in-law) that I am… Love you Iris Williams...

Picture courtesy of Getty Image
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