Please Hand Me the Remote…

Bored woman sitting at home with remote control watching tv

 

This thing called “life” has lots of twists and turns and, oftentimes, we are thrown curveballs leaving us to ponder “What am I going to do“, “What should I do”, and/or “Who should I call”?  Our minds take on lifeforms of their own and tend to “have their way with us” as we wrestle with it all.

I don’t know about you, but there are many days that I wished I could turn my mind off as I attempt to manage the issues and circumstances that I clearly didn’t anticipate nor did I ever expect to have to deal with.  It seems that before you can catch your breath, another situation arises, and then another, and another.  You want to get off the “merry go round”, but it won’t slow down enough for you to bail.  Is life like this everyday? Absolutely not although sometimes we “imagine” it is.  We have good days as well as bad days.  Some would probably say they have more bad than good days.  I can honestly say that’s not the case for me, but when it’s bad, it’s really bad.  Just recently, I felt like the entire bottom had fallen out of my life.  It seemed as though everything that could possibly go wrong did.  I was bewildered.  I was frustrated.  I was angry.  I was hurt.  It seemed no matter where I turned there wasn’t any relief in sight.  My mind would not turn itself off as my frustration and anxiety mounted.  Midweek, one of my friends texted me the video “He Has His Hands on You” by Marvin Sapp, and that got me through the next several days.  However, I felt like I was slammed on Friday of that same week and went to bed that night without any resolution and feeling pretty desolate.  Needless to say, I was completely worn out.  I was mentally drained.  One of my other friends texted me early Saturday morning to say that she pulled the t-shirt out that I gave her with my hashtag, GurlYouGotItGoinOn.  At that point, I picked myself up, and dusted myself off.  She had given my words back to me.  The funny thing is that neither one of these people knew what was going on in my life.  I don’t even think they knew the reason they reached out to me, but I did.

There are times that you flip through your mind as if you’re channel surfing.  You play one thing in your mind, then the next, and the next and so forth and so on.  It’s how some people watch TV.  They start one program, then another; they watch several shows or movies simultaneously.  I can’t do that because it’s too much, so I usually watch a movie til the end unless it’s pretty bad.  When your mind is on overload, you feel lost and alone, and feel like you are at lowest point.  Some reach out to their circle of friends or family while others deal with the pain on their own.  They won’t let anybody in because they “don’t want people in their business” or they feel as though “people will view them as weak”.  I get it.  However, we have to “learn to trust” someone because we need to be able to release our feelings of frustration or, perhaps, even our pent-up anxiety.  Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t have your best interest at heart (learned this the hard way), so it’s imperative that you surround yourself with a supportive circle who really cares about you and your well being (not people who just want something to gossip about) — people who won’t judge you for your thoughts or feelings.

Let’s face it, life can be downright scary at times because we don’t always have the answers.  For those of us, who know God, we pray and have faith, but sometimes our faith wanes because we don’t know if He is going to work it out the way we desire.  We can’t see what’s happening in the background, so we worry — some to the point wherein you make yourselves sick (been down that road).

Sometimes, it’s people whom we have helped time and time again who bring a lot of unwanted and undesired drama, distortion, and devastation to our lives.  They ask for our assistance, but never stand on their own two feet.  They are constantly ringing our phones for every single thing, and in the end we are left feeling burnt out as they are always on the receiving end; they are always taking from and never adding to.  I’ve had to start saying, “No”.  There are things that I’m done with, and I feel completely comfortable in my decision.  I can’t continue to let the same people wear me out day after day.  I’ve had to take a step back.  Rather than allowing myself to get all wound up and upset over situations people have created and continue to create for themselves, when I’m called or texted, my response is simply “Okay,” and I’m perfectly fine with that. I need to learn how not to be an enabler for people’s foolishness.  I’m not being selfish, but sometimes you have to know when it’s time to “let go”.

In one of my earlier posts, I talk about how women often have a good network of friends that we can go to and be completely transparent with, thereby, releasing our anxiety, frustrations, doubts, etc.  However, in that same article, one of my male followers shared that men don’t often have anyone to turn to.  Let me just say this pain, hurt, loneliness, worry, confusion, doubt or any other emotion is not gender specific.  Everyone (female AND male) needs to be able to release.  There are men who “struggle in secret” because of people’s perception of what they think a man should be.  If you’re not going to be supportive, then please move out of the way (sorry).

As we deal with life and change the channel after the “movie” has ended, we will be able to breathe and share our story with the next person who is struggling and trying to cope.  No, we can’t turn our minds off, but we can learn to silence some of the voices so that we aren’t dealing with everything at once and finding ourselves overwhelmed.

Always remember, #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace

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What In the WORLD is Going On?

 

 

Some of you may be scratching your heads and asking yourselves, “What in the WORLD is going on,” as you listen to the tragic current events that have been going on and plaguing our society all across the country.  Things have been so scary that some of you may be fearful to even leave your homes, at this point, because you don’t know if you’ll return.

Everyone is pointing the finger at one another and, yes, our country is very divided as some blame those in the “oval” office while others blame the “press”.  No matter what side you have aligned yourself with, until a solution is found, everyone loses — and I mean everyone!

We are very much living in trying times, but instead of one side fighting the other and calling each other names and displaying childlike behavior (which solves nothing and is certainly not positive behavior that is indicative of what we what our children to see), why not come together and actually listen to each other for a change to find a solution to this escalating problem.  I have my thoughts and opinions on the topic; however, this is not a platform for that.  Every single one of us should be accountable for doing our part — no matter how small you might deem it to be.

Just think if everyone took an interest in making things better, how much positivity would be spread around.  Some of us know people who need our assistance, but have opted to look the other way because we don’t want to be bothered with “their” issues.  Let’s face it, no one wants to sign up for what they consider trouble; however, it’s time for us to stop minding our business and roll up our sleeves as we get into the trenches to help our fellow man.  People are hurting, and yes, we are our brother’s keeper.  

How about we learn to work together, and then agree to disagree when our thoughts, views, and/or suggestions aren’t welcomed?  What I have learned in life is that communication is extremely vital.  There was a time that I made a fair number of mistakes due to my lack of desire to communicate.  I expected people to be able to read my mind or if I was hurt or upset about something, I’d walk around angry for weeks at a time rather than talking about it; just for the record, that accomplished absolutely nothing.  Without communication a lot of assumptions are made, which oftentimes are incorrect, and we are left to our own thoughts and scenarios to play out in our minds.

As we go about our daily lives why not think about where we can lend a helping hand.  There are kids who need mentoring.  Why not take a child or two or three or four under your wing, if this is your area of giftedness.  If this is not your thing, but you know someone who could benefit from these services, I know of two programs because I’ve actually had personal experience with them —  Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (my son was in the program and we were fortunate enough to have a wonderful match who kept in touch with him, even after he aged out).  His Big followed him all through high school and beyond.  The other program in Baltimore is called BTST which is really good; again, I know about them personally as my daughter was in the program.  There are tons of programs out there, but you will have to do your homework and perform extensive research, as all programs are not equal.  Bear in mind kids will grow up one day, and we want them to be able to function in life and be successful in whatever path they find themselves on.  However, while they’re growing, they are watching and listening to everything we do, so be very, very careful what you do and so in front of them.

Don’t forget to check on your friends and loved ones.  Sometimes, people feel no one cares, which leads to depression and can set them on the path to self destruction as well.  Everyone wants to be loved, even if they won’t admit it.  Don’t think that because you can’t do anything big that you don’t have anything to contribute.  I know this sounds cliche but, sometimes, it really is the little things that count because those are the thoughtful things.  It could be a quick phone call, a text message, a letter, a card, whatever comes to your mind that could make a huge difference in someone who is going through.

In our willingness to help, sometimes, we, unfortunately, encounter people that we can’t reach.  We’ve been there for them.  We’ve given them all of the tools they need.  We’ve talked to them for a countless number of hours, and they are still on the path of destruction.  Because of our need to constantly save the day, we soon become enablers of their behavior as they manipulate us.  These are the kind of people who leave us feeling drained and completely exhausted as we have allowed them to suck the life out of us.  They keep taking and taking and taking and taking some more, and keep right on doing whatever it is they are doing.  At some point, we need to take a step back and not feel guilty about it.  When we’ve done all we can to help someone, and they are still exhibiting the same behaviors maybe that just means our assignment is up.  Perhaps, it’s someone else’s turn to pick up where we left off.  That doesn’t mean we’ve turned our back on them or have left them out there to be slaughtered, we’re simply saying I’ve done all I can do.  We’re not actually kicking them to the curb but rather put some distance in between the relationship as we need time to regroup and refocus mentally.

At my church we have a motto, “Each One Bring One, Each One Win One”.  Just think if everyone took just one person that they knew was struggling with something, albeit mental health, physical health, homelessness, joblessness, financial insecurities, health, etc., what a difference we’d all make.  The responsibility doesn’t just fall on a select few, but on all of us.  Some people aren’t able to physically help but, perhaps, they can pray for strength for those who are on the frontline.  James 2:14-16 – What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?  If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.”  Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  Faith and then the work to back it up is extremely powerful. Whatever happened to “In God We Trust” that is on our currency and certainly a motto that most used to live by.

I hope as you read this week’s post, you’ll think of something you can do to lend a hand.  If you have been thinking about something and have been afraid to execute it, now is the time as it is absolutely crucial for you to utilize the tools that you’ve been given as you also help to make a difference.  We can’t afford to sit around and do nothing and watch our country destroy itself or go to H-E-DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS in a hand basket, as the old folks used to say.  Remember that we all have a gift and we have been placed on this earth for a purpose.

REACH OUT AND TOUCH…

WE GOT THIS…

If you have topics that you would like to see covered, please email me at grace.deveraux@yahoo.com.

Always remember,#GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace

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Have a “splentastic” weekend

Mending the Fences, One Picket or Barbed Wire At A Time…

Mending Fences

Mend Fences: To improve or repair a relationship that has been damaged by an argument or disagreement.

In recent weeks, I’ve shared how my life looked as I was growing up.  It feels so good to reminisce about the good times, but let’s face it, sometimes, there is an ugly truth that behind closed doors things are not always as they appear to be to outsiders.  When I was growing up, we were told that whatever happens at home, stays at home and that was a motto that we lived by every day.  My mother didn’t have to repeat it a million and one times because I got it the first time around.

Growing up, my sister, Pam, (who, by the way, is the middle child) and I were extremely close.  No one was ever going to pick on her except me (and, unfortunately, there was a time where I did a lot of that).  However, that job was reserved for me and me alone.

Image result for image of barbed wire fenceSadly, over the years, our relationship was pretty much dead except for when she came to town or the few phone calls here and there or the yearly Christmas cards that I would send her.  Our differences in lifestyles and lack of understanding and the unwillingness to agree to disagree got in the way of our relationshipour sisterhood.  I don’t know what happened or why it changed (I’m grateful that it did), but over the past year we have been as thick as thieves.  We share a lot about our lives, and even talk about the past — the good and the not so good.  We talk about the mental scars that we incurred as growing up.  Even though we have gotten over them, some of the scars remain; however, we don’t let them dictate our lives or the women we have become today.  She now calls herself my “little big sister” because she has more experience about some of life’s issues than I do.  Let’s just say, sometimes, I feel like I’ve been living under a rock as life passed me by.  What I’m good at, I’m really good at.  However, what I’m bad at…  Where she was daring, I was afraid and would only go so far because fear held me back.  We took separate paths and roads in life, but that’s what made us who we are today.

Bonding:  The formation of a close relationship (as between a mother and child or between a person and an animal), especially through frequent or constant association.

When my oldest daughter, Gabrielle, was growing up, she and I never had a bonding for whatever reason.  As a child, she wasn’t the huggy, feely type, and quite honestly, as her mom, I didn’t know what to do with that, so, sadly, I did absolutely nothing.  I know it sounds terrible and some of you may be thinking, “Wow, what kind of mother does that?”.  I would probably think the same thing if the shoe were on the other foot; however, I always want to be honest with you, my readers, with the hope that someone might benefit from my experiences  Trust me, not having a relationship with my daughter is one of the biggest regrets of my life.  After all, I was the parent and she was the child.  It was my responsibility to fix the relationship.  Whenever, I went to her school to volunteer, she would hide behind her friends or act as though she didn’t see me.  Sometimes, I would call her out; other times, I ignored the situation.  However, I was really hurt.  My other two children were the polar opposite; they wanted everyone to know I was their mother and wanted me to meet and get to know all of their friends.  The relationship I had with them was so easy, so I let Gabrielle slip through the cracks.  Unfortunately, I don’t think either one is us knew what to do with the other back then; however, today, I can say that I thank God for growth and maturity on both of our parts.  Hence, 20 something years later, we now have a relationship for which I’m extremely grateful.  Do we talk everyday?  No, we don’t.  However, when we do get together we have very meaningful, thought provoking conversations, and thoroughly enjoy being in one another’s company.  I told her the other day that I was proud of the woman she was becoming.  She asked me why, and I spelled it all out.  She smiled and said, “Thank you”.  I texted her the next day and told her that I took pleasure in our time together at her place, and she said anytime and she would cook dinner for me.  Woohoo!  I never turn down food, LOL!  This would never have happened in the past.  I’m really thankful because some relationships are never mended and, when people pass on, the  relationship remains broken.  Gabrielle or “Gabby,” as people call her, has become a very strong woman.  She doesn’t take any stuff and can be quite tough, when necessary.  She has come into her own and has now taken her rightful place as the big/oldest sister, and, might I add, she is wearing it well!  She has come to her younger sister’s aide quite a bit lately, and has even helped her brother in his time of need.

I don’t mention Gabrielle as often as I do my other two children, but it doesn’t mean that I love her any less.  I’m pleased to put the spotlight on her today, and I am mighty proud to be her mom.

If you don’t have a great relationship or a relationship at all with your family members, it’s not too late, even if it seems as though it’s been a lifetime.  I’m a living testament of that.  We wish for things and we pray for things to be different, but I don’t think we always expect the change to come.

If you’re missing the relationship that you once had or the bonding is gone, reach out.  You don’t have to be stubborn.  Take the high road, as a counselor that I used to see would always say.  If everyone leaves it up to the other party to resolve whatever differences that may have led to the tearing down of the fence, things will never be resolved.  However, if you’ve reached out a number of times and the person doesn’t respond or isn’t interested in rebuilding the relationship, sadly, there is nothing you can do.  I have a cousin that was like another sister to me.  A number of years ago, she disappeared out of my life.  I reached out to her via telephone, letters, and cards.  About four years ago, I was given her current phone number.  I called her and we talked and cried about how we missed each other.  She vowed she would stay in touch, but she hasn’t.  I reached out to her again roughly two years ago, and she said some things that I didn’t expect and weren’t true; however, they were her truth.  At that point, I knew there was nothing else humanly possible that I could do.  However, I miss her terribly.  The funny thing is we had no argument.  Everything was going extremely well, and then one day like a puff of smoke, she was gone — without warning.

I’d like to give a special thanks to one of my best friends who came up with the topic.  As a result of me sharing things with him, he saw things that I didn’t regarding the growth and rebuilding of my family.  However, as he broke it all down, I had what Oprah would call an “Aha” moment.

If you have topics that you would like to see covered, please email me at grace.deveraux@yahoo.com.

Always remember, #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace

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Favorites…

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Growing up, I had two favorite uncles (one on my paternal side of the family and one on the maternal side), and a favorite aunt.  As a kid, you don’t know that you could potentially hurt your other family members feelings because of your “favoritism”.  You just knew you loved your favorites to pieces, and that they meant the absolute world to you.

67357013_492385934890477_3947146769762091008_nMy paternal uncle was my favorite uncle because he took time with me.  He talked to me about life and some of the do’s and don’t.  Even though I hadn’t entered that arena of life yet, he was preparing me for what was to come.  There were times when he would ride me on his back up and down my grandmother’s stairs and run through the house with me on his back, even though he would have been in major trouble with his mother had she known of the shenanigans that went on behind her back.  It was the best fun ever as I squealed with delight every single time he did this.  He taught me how to ride my bike for which I’ll always be grateful.  He was even supposed to teach me how to swim but, unfortunately, he was murdered before he had the opportunity to do so.  This happened in February of 1972, and I was absolutely devastated.  I cried and cried, and cried some more.  I can remember saying why couldn’t it have happened to someone else in my family and, at that time, I didn’t really care who it was.  I was 11 1/2 years old, and I felt like the world had stopped — that it had come to a screeching halt.  How was I to deal with the fact that he was no longer with us?  Even though, my uncle was put to rest over 40 years ago, it still has an impact on me as I miss him, and occasionally wonder what our relationship would be like today.  It might sound strange, but I can still remember the outfit that I wore to his funeral as if it were a few short years ago.  I believe I mentioned my Uncle Larry in a previous blog; he was the one who was so proud to show off his niece (me) that, when he played the guitar with Chuck Berry in Atlantic City (before it was a casino; I was only 2), he had my grandmother bring me to the stage.  Being 2-years-old, I was absolutely terrified and cried something awful, from what I’m tol

Then, there was my maternal uncle — Oronde (couldn’t find any pictures of him).  I was a bit older when he became my favorite.  He used to take us rollerskating every Wednesday at Painters Mill back in the day.  He loved to have fun, and wanted us to be a part of it.  He used to also go camping, which I never wanted to be a part of — I’m not an outside kind of gal, LOL!  He was also the type who wanted to get into your head to find out what made you tick, and if it didn’t make sense he would tell you as much.  Unfortunately, he is also no longer with us either.

One of my paternal aunts was my favorite aunt.  The funny thing is she used to live 100’s 67430500_2452284328325369_641048736788643840_n of miles away, but we had that connection.  I could talk to her about anything, and she would listen and advise.  As I got older, and my situations changed, she would always tell me that she was praying for me because she wanted me to be happy and wanted the best for me.  I remember a time she told me that she’s glad that we didn’t live near each other because we’d both be in trouble because of our personalities because it would be on when we had enough of people’s foolishness.  We laughed about that as we shared many things.  Sadly, her health is declining now that she’s in her mid-80’s.  I have to admit it’s extremely difficult to see someone who was once so alive and vibrant seemingly waste away right before your very eyes.  Even though we know our loved ones are getting older, as are we, we never process the fact that one day their health will begin to fail and it will be their time to cross over.

As I mentioned my favorites, that doesn’t mean that I don’t love my other family members; they are all wonderful human beings and I love every single one of them — I just had my picks.

Some parents even have their favorite child or children, but try their best not to because they don’t want the other kids to feel like they aren’t loved as equally or at all.  In all fairness, though, sometimes you spend more time with one child than the others because they might have health or behavioral issues that dictate that you to do so.  However, you try not to have your other children feel neglected, even though they oftentimes do.  You honestly love all of your children, just in different ways.

Maybe you’re someone who doesn’t have a favorite and are able to love everyone equally, and that’s really good.  I haven’t mastered that as yet.  I don’t think my favorites actually knew they were or the “special” role they played in my life.  Let’s just say, “I kept it on the down low”.  Do I, personally, think it’s okay to have a favorite — absolutely because it’s nothing wrong with sharing and letting people know how much you love them and what they mean to you.

Always remember, #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace

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The Struggle Is Real…


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What can I tell you – I LOVE FOOD — ALL KINDS OF FOOD!  Food is definitely one of my best friends.

Image result for chocolateWhen we’re young, most of us have a very high metabolism and are able to eat all sorts of foods and goodies, and still keep our “girlish figures”, LOL (I was Olive Oyl in the comic strip and cartoon, “Popeye”.  The only thing I had were two feet that were suspended from this “extremely” thin body.  I was miserable every single day because no matter how much food I consumed, I couldn’t gain weight to save my life.  When I graduated high school, I only weighed 102 pounds.  Then, not long after graduation, I had issues with my stomach and was hospitalized for a week wherein I lost ten pounds.  Well, can you imagine what I looked like — nothing but pure skin and bones.  I was so thin that the doctors at the hospital thought my parents weren’t feeding me.  My father wanted to give them a piece of his mind but my mother advised against it since I was in the hospital alone.

I finally gained weight — a whopping 115 pounds.  During that time, I couldn’t eat during Image result for images of someone gorging on food the summer because it was too hot, so I only ate fruit and drank juice, so I would lose about ten pounds every single summer.

I didn’t really begin to gain weight until I was 30 years old.  I was the perfect weight for my height at 150 pounds.  You couldn’t tell me that I hadn’t arrived  I was certainly ready for the runway, LOL!  When my stomach would become a little “larger” than normal, I would exercise immediately for weeks on end to get it back down.  I was serious about keeping my weight down back then.

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Sadly, there came a time when I topped the scale at 205 pounds (I’m just talking about myself; some people are fine with their current weight; everyone is different).  I couldn’t believe it.  It seemed like it happened overnight.  What was I thinking as I was having to buy larger clothes?  It didn’t matter.  I continued to eat and shop — for larger clothes, that is.

A number of years ago, one of my friends and former coworkers had a “Biggest Loser” contest, and that helped me shed 27 pounds and put my 8 pounds away from my goal weight.  Did I make it there?  Absolutely not!  After feeling really, really good about myself and loving the way I looked in my former clothes that I had outgrown (I don’t ever get rid of timeless pieces), I felt like I could eat a little more and a little more, and then a little more.  What do you think happened?  I gained most of my weight back.  Thank God, I never reached 205 pounds again, but I wasn’t too terribly far from it.  How did I allow this to happen “again”?  Why couldn’t I remain disciplined in my eating?  The only thing I can say is that, “old habits die hard”.

Several years ago, my place of employment had a contest wherein I was able to shed some of the weight and inches that I had put on.  In fact, I lost the most all over inches and actually won in that category.  I was excited, again, about my weight loss journey.

Well, history repeated itself “again”.  I put on some of the weight and regained some of the Image result for images of snacksinches.  I want to be disciplined in my eating habits and make exercise a regular part of my daily routine.  However, I make excuses for not tearing myself out of bed extra early in the morning or walking in the evening when I get off work.  I just can’t seem to peel the covers off me.  Perhaps, I need someone to shove me out as I hit the snooze button a million and one times on some mornings.  My 4-year-old granddaughter has more discipline than I do.  She went for her annual visit with her pediatrician, and I was told that she should not gain any more weight but rather we should limit the amount of snacks and juices that we give her because she’s in the 90th percentile for age as far as weight is concerned.  I had no idea my granddaughter was even paying attention until the following week when I picked her up from daycare.  The daycare provider told me that my granddaughter told said, “I can’t have a lot of chips.  I can only eat a little.  My doctor said so.”  I don’t know any 4-year-old who would be honest about that.  I was shocked and pleased at the same time.  It has now been several weeks, and she still says that.  Wow!  Imma need her to help me, LOL!

The struggle is real.  However, we have to start somewhere.  Many people fail because they set unrealistic goals for themselves, i.e., “I’m going to lose 40 pounds in two months. I’m going toto exercise for an hour each day.  I’m going to decrease my caloric intake.  I’m going to, I’m going to, I’m going to”.

The weight journey can be difficult, but it’s not impossible as I know first hand.  However, if you don’t stay on top of what got you there in the first place, i.e., losing your focus and momentum, you’ll be right back where you started; therefore, finding yourself disappointed.  Life, sometimes, has a way of getting in the way of things — children, jobs, spouse, illness, etc.; however, we have to learn to take better care of ourselves.  Sometimes, it’s okay to put your needs before the needs of others, and, no that’s not being selfish at all.  You’re just putting everyone on notice that you need time to do “you”.

Getting on the path of your weight loss journey, and healthy lifestyle really is mind over matter.  How much do we really want it?  It’s so much easier said than done, trust me, I know.  My metabolism has come to a “screeching” halt (okay, it’s really nonexistent) as I’m in the throes of that “dreaded” menopause, so diet alone doesn’t work; I have to exercise at least 4 to 5 times a week to see any type of difference which I haven’t done in about two months now.

Image result for image of stomach hanging over top of your pantsI saw my doctor a month ago, for abdominal pain and bloating.  When I told her I had bloating, she looked at me and said, “How do you know it’s not fat”.  I laughed out loud because I certainly wasn’t expecting that response.  However, she was extremely serious.  Then, she looked through my records and saw that I had a previous complaint of bloating a number of years ago.  Then, and only then did she agree with me.

I “live to eat,” when it should be in the reverse “eat to live”.  There is a group on FaceBook, “Eat to Live, Not Live to Eat Conscious,” that one my best friends started; she includes all types of tips and gives great information on healthy eating.

There are many times that I know I’m full, and just continue eating because it tastes “sooo” good.  I tell myself just one more bite which turns into another and another and then another until I’ve practically consumed what I told myself not to.

Realistically, I know that I’m going to have to “make” time to get my exercise in and not view it as a chore or something that I can afford to do without because I really can’t.  I don’t want to gain all the weight back that I lost because now that I’m older, it takes a whole lot longer to shed even one pound.

If you are like me and “struggle” to keep the weight off, figure out where you went wrong and what triggers you to “fall off the wagon” and, then, correct the issue.  Be bigger and stronger than what is preventing you to be or remain successful.  Don’t beat yourself up when you miss or don’t make your mark.  Do better.  Get back on track.  You got this!

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Me, at my heaviest weight — 205 pounds…
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Me, at 178 pounds…

Always remember, #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace

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Siblings…

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66774551_1168119210027813_2233124913630150656_nI am the older sibling of three children, and growing up I took that role extremely seriously.  Nothing, and I mean nothing was going down on my watch because I knew that I would be the fall guy.  No way was I ever going to allow that to happen.

In my article, “Summertime,” I shared how my sister, who is the closest in age to me (nearly three years separates us), and  I spent the entire summers with my paternal grandmother.  She was a wonderful woman, but someone that you didn’t want to tick off.  Trust me when I tell you, I never made it on her “bad” list (LOL!).  During that time, she worked a few days a week, typically in the mornings.  Since I was the oldest sibling, I was left “in charge”.   When she told us not to answer the door, even if it was someone we knew, I took that literally.  One of my uncles came by, and I told him that I couldn’t let him in.  He wasn’t happy about it because he was a relative, but I had no intention of incurring her wrath.  Another one of her rules was not to answer the phone unless it was her calling, and there was a special code that she used.  All of these instructions were set in place for safety reasons, and I adhered to every one of them, and made sure that my sister did too.  After all, I was the “boss” or so I thought.  I was very familiar with all the do’s and don’ts, and even though I was 9 and my sister was 6, I didn’t play because I wasn’t going to be the one getting in trouble:  a) for something I didn’t do, and b) because I allowed my sister to do things that I knew were wrong.

There was one incident wherein my sister was doing something she had no business doing (I can’t even remember what it was now); however, I’m sure it wasn’t that serious.  I told her to stand in the corner on one foot for five minutes (keep in mind she was 6 and I was 9).  She followed my orders, but told my grandmother when she got home.  I didn’t get in trouble per se, but my grandmother let me know that in no uncertain terms was I her mother, and I shouldn’t have done that.  There were other instances wherein, I took command of the situation with my sister.  However, as she got older, she would tell me herself that, “I wasn’t her mother”.  I guess that was the beginning of me wanting to be in “control of everything and everybody.”  I had a very strong personality at a young age, and was an absolute CONTROL FREAK (I have been reformed, though, by this thing called life).

Then, came along my youngest sister who is 3 months shy of being 15 years younger than I am.  I was definitely the “boss” of her.  My mother would make me take her everywhere I went (against my many protests, of course) to keep me out of trouble.  There were times that I didn’t mind, but then there were also times I resented it too because this wasn’t my child so why should she have been my responsibility, I questioned.  The cool thing, though, is that when she was 5, she told me she wanted to be just like me (now she’s probably saying, I’m glad I’m not like her, LOL!).  She would torment my sister who is the middle child, but was relatively a good listener when I told her to do something.  One time, when she was around 5, she stole some candy from the store.  I marched her back over there and made her return it.  She was embarrassed but guess what?  We never had that problem again.  I loved her enough to teach her that’s not what we do — after all, she was my baby sis and I wanted her to do the right thing.

History kind of repeated itself with my three kids.  I watched as my oldest daughter “attempted” to be the big sister.  Unfortunately, her siblings weren’t having it.  They had no desire to listen to her because she was smaller than they were (especially, my middle child).  As I watched them grow up, I encouraged them to be supportive of each other.  I told them at the end of the day, all they had were each other because friends come and go.  They couldn’t understand it then, but I have watched my two daughters (who used to fight like cats and dogs, physically and verbally) form a bond — a sisterly bond.  In fact, they now talk to each other regularly as they are building their own separate lives.  All of my kids are  now adults and managed to weather the storm of childhood without killing each other.  Whew!  It was certainly touch and go there for a minute.  However, I’m sure most parents deal with the “She touched me, he looked at me, that’s mine, I’m not sharing,” “he hit me,” and calling for “mom” at least a million times a day to the point where you want to pack your things and run away from home.  The cool thing, though, is there is nothing like a bond between siblings.  I remember when my kids used to cover for each other; it was a code they didn’t break — no matter what.  My youngest daughter would even take my son’s punishments for him (I would make him write like a million times, which he hated; she loved writing and their handwriting was similar enough that she did it for him).  Now, that was either love or sheer craziness, LOL!

Now, onto the third generation of siblings — my 4-year-old granddaughter clearly thinks she’s the “boss” of her 5-month-old brother.  The poor fella has no idea what she has in store for him, LOL!  Recently, she put him in her doll stroller, strapped him in (she knows all about my safety rules), and pushed him around the apartment (don’t worry, he was safe).  She thinks she should feed him all the time and make his bottles.  She loves being the older sister and even changed his name to match her initials “JM” (is that smart or what).

Fast forward, one of my sisters and I are closer than we’ve been in years and I have to admit that it feels good to be able to “discuss” our adult issues, “laugh” about goofy things, and “reminisce” about the “good old days”.

If you haven’t spoken to your sibling or siblings in a while, give them a call, schedule an outing or drop them a line to let them know you’re thinking about them (this is something I need to do more often; life is short and family is important).

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Always remember, #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summertime…

 

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School’s out, and most kids probably get to sleep in a little later, which is something they look forward to all year long, particularly, during the last few weeks of school.  Everyone gets a little antsy and testy then because it seems like the end is taking forever.  They make plans to hang out with their friends, and just have lazy days because they feel as though they’ve earned it by working hard for the past nine months or so.  Some families plan vacations while others have staycations and schedule occasional day trips with their family.

When I was growing up, my sister and I used to spend the entire summer with my Image result for images of apple piepaternal grandmother.  We couldn’t wait to go because we knew we were going to have “big” fun.  My grandmother was one of those people who felt that children should be well rounded, and she made sure of that.  We were always up and down the highway going someplace or another.  She took us to the movies, museums, the theatre, amusement parks, fairs, malls, etc.  My great-grandmother would often save quarters for my sister and I in the change card holder so that we would have spending money.

Image result for images of lemonadeOn one of our trips to Atlantic City (before it was changed over to a casino), we saw the dancing chicken.  You put a coin in the machine and the chicken moved around like it was dancing.  My aunt couldn’t stop laughing (cackling, LOL!); she was laughing so hard that it made me laugh as well.  That was the absolute highlight of our trip that day.

Another memorable event, was when the Columbia Mall first opened in our area, and my Image result for images of hot dogsgrandmother took us there for the very first time.  She didn’t have a lot of money, but we always had to stop and eat (hence, food is one of my best friends until this very day, LOL!)  This particular time, we stopped at the hot dog stand.  I had never had a hot dog with everything but decided to go for it.  What a real treat!  I truly had everything (sauerkraut, cheese, chili, mustard, ketchup, relish, onion and whatever else they had back then) — my bread was so wet and soggy from all of the toppings, but it didn’t stop me from eating it.  That was the best hot dog I had ever eaten in my entire life.

My Grandmother Fannie was big on movie going, and we probably saw every kid movie that premiered.  She also loved taking in the theatre, and we saw a number of theatrical shows.  In fact, she had taken us to a performance (can’t remember what it was), and Richard Roundtree was walking around upstairs as I went to the bathroom.  He was so close that I could have reached out and touched him.  I wanted to say something to him so bad, but my fear and shyness kept me from doing anything about it other than going to the restroom which is what I was doing upstairs in the first place.

Image result for images of icecream trucksOn hot days, it was nothing like have a Root beer float or a slushie (that’s before they became a thing).   We had buckets that we put in the freezer.  Once they got cold enough, we poured our drinks in there and stirred.  Nothing like a cold drink on a hot summer’s day.  There were also times that we got an extra treat when the ice cream truck came around.  Some of you may remember this slogan “I scream.  You scream.  We all scream for ice cream”.  

When we weren’t traveling up and down the road, my sister and I played jacks, rode our bikes, played with our Barbie dolls as well as paper dolls.  I was very competitive back then and when my sister would lose at any game we played, I would gloat and stick out my chest and walk around like a proud turkey.  LOL!

As goofy kids, we’d do stupid stuff, while my grandmother was driving, such as turning around and making faces at the people in the cars behind us (kids better not even consider doing that today).  We’d randomly pick numbers from the phone book, and play on the phone asking people were their refrigerators running.  One time, I got the bright idea to ask for this lady’s husband because his name was the one listed.  I said something silly like I was his girlfriend.  Her response was, “My husband died a number of years ago”.  I was so startled, that I immediately hung up.  Guess what, they cured me; I never played on the phone again.

Honestly, I wished I could go back to those times of innocence and playfulness.  If I could turn back the hands of time, I think I would have enjoyed them even more.  As children, we are always think about “being an adult”, and have no clue what will be awaiting us when we reach that status.  My granddaughter, who is only 4, says she can’t wait to be a grown up.  I told her to have fun playing with her friends and doing things that 4-year-olds should do because she had the rest of her life to be a grown up.  I assured her that kids should be having a boat load of fun, particularly at her age.

What are some of your most memorable moments from your childhood?

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My cousin, Ann (left); my sister, Pam (right); and I (middle).

 

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My cousin, Stevie; my sister, Pam (half of the body); and I (have no idea what she was doing, LOL!)

 

 

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My sister, and I (she’s going to kill me, LOL!)

 

As always, remember #GurlYouGotItGoinOn

Love ya,

Grace

 

 

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