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Showing posts from 2013

Not Home for the Holidays

Once you put aside the commercialism of the holidays, you may be surprised to learn that the holidays are very depressing for many people. So often, we get so caught up in the decorations and shopping that we actually forget to reach out to people in our network who are coping with grief and loss during this special time of year.

The holidays typically are a time of family gatherings and warm memories but for anyone struggling with the loss of a loved one, failed relationship or family estrangement, the holidays can be a harsh reminder of a void.

I've always felt that people take their functioning families for granted. I know that family members can get on our nerves and getting together at the holidays can be stressful in itself but if you have a safe place that you can call home, be thankful. If you know someone spending the holidays alone, welcome them into your home and surround them with love and support.

If you have a family that is nothing but drama and stress, give yoursel…

Talk is Cheap

I'm noticing a disturbing trend in the need to be validated via social media. Adults who want to be perceived as successful desperately trying to validate their worth or successes through an electronic outlet.

People connect with you on social media for several reasons: to reconnect from childhood, to network, to get to know you better or through commonality. You can not build a solid relationship via social media, command respect via social media or determine your worth through social media so stop putting fruitless efforts into it.

At times, I am embarrassed for adults who constantly have to prove how "busy" or "professional" they are through a post or tweet when in reality if you are THAT busy and productive, you won't be on social media every hour.

Just be YOU. If you are successful, it manifests in your relationships, your reputation, lifestyle and works. If you are the only one promoting your success, chances are that you are the only one deeming your…

Letting my hair and more than that down!

Well, today I crossed something off my modest bucket list. After decades of flipping through Victoria's Secret catalogues, I decided to do a boudoir photo shoot at the age of 42! Would I or could I ever look that good in a lingerie photo shoot?

Boy was I nervous when I walked into the studio and was greeted by colorful corsets and garters. I thought I was backstage at a burlesque show! To my benefit, all of the women staffers were friendly and made me feel very comfortable. As the shoot progressed, I realized that you are only as beautiful as you feel.

Letting my hair down symbolizes a big change in my way of life. While I will remain fiscally and fundamentally conservative, I will slowly embrace things that I once feared. After all, what do you REALLY have to lose by trying something new or doing something that would surprise most people?
Are you holding back simply out of fear of what others may think and does their opinion of you truly affect your life or well-being?

We spend …

Fruitvale Station-A Closer Look

With great hesitancy, I went with two friends to see the movie "Fruitvale Station." When I first saw the movie trailers, I had no clue as to what the film was about. After researching Oscar Grant's story, I drew parallels to the shooting of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin.
As people struggled to accept the verdict handed down in the Zimmerman trial, I quickly became outraged at attempts to minimize the Black experience by referring to past criminal cases of reverse crime (White victim/Black defendant) and posting stories on social media that did not make national news. For the life of me, I can not understand why my personal anger incites someone else to get defensive or attempt to minimize my emotions especially when they have not lived in this world in brown skin.
As I watched the opening scenes of Fruitvale Station, I was literally cringing. After seeing social media posts about Trayvon's less than stellar school performance and "thug" ways, I was almost emb…

Crowning Glory-Pageants Develop Tomorrow's Leaders

If you have never competed in a beauty pageant, you probably think they are dumb or full of fluff. If you have competed and lost, you probably feel that they are rigged and unfair. Having competed for several years in my youth in one of the most competitive and respected pageant systems (Miss Texas America and Miss Texas USA), I can honestly say that competing in pageants developed my confidence, self esteem, poise and social graces.

I competed in my first pageant at the ripe age of 14. Initially, I wanted to make new friends and showcase my talent and grace. I quickly discovered that there were girls who were more beautiful, richer and more taleted than me. Did this destroy my self esteem? No, it made me accept that I can only be the best me and I was my only competition in life.

Looking back, although at the time I was very angry, I didn't deserve to win any of the pageants I entered. I was ill-prepared and didn't have the proper coaching required to nail the competition sta…

Reflections of Recurrence

I recently had a very scary mammogram experience that forced me to stop everything and reflect on my life as a mother, wife and breast cancer survivor. I received a phone call on a Friday that the Dallas mammography clinic had finally received my mammogram films from Louisiana and there was something present on the left breast that wasn't on the film last year. Needless to say, I was absolutely terrified!
I would not advise receiving this type of phone call on a Friday. I tried my best not to worry over the weekend but I did a lot of soul searching and mentally tried to prepare for the worse. After a fun-filled weekend, Monday finally rolled around and I found myself shaking with my husband at my side as the doctor showed us the film and the white area on the left breast. It looked like cancer initially but than I realized it was where my port was. After extensive views and plenty of chest pressing and an ultrasound, she concluded it was scar tissue. I was off the hook......for no…

Honoring those who serve our county

This Memorial Day I am reflecting on my life as a military daughter, sister and wife. Now more than ever, it seems that people are really stopping to reflect and respect those brave men and women who serve this country we call home.
Sometimes, people get caught up in political affiliations and overlook that we are AMERICANS before we are democrats or republicans. If we would stop bickering long enough, we may even realize that the lines between the two are more narrow than we think.
Growing up in San Antonio and just a few miles from Lackland, Air Force Base, some of my fondest childhood memories include the 4th of July fireworks on base or going to the commissary on the weekends with my father. He would always let me pick out a bag of candy. If I was lucky, we would go over to the BX where I could usually get another small purchase like a cassette tape (yes, I am that old), a new pair of shoes or makeup. I loved being an Air Force daughter because I received quality medical care on b…

The Motherhood Diaries Confirms Struggles are Normal

I am thrilled and honored to be one of the mothers featured in ReShonda Tate Billingsley's new release entited "The Motherhood Diaries." ReShonda and I met in 2006 when we were both selected as one of ten Women on the Move from Texas Executive Women.
After connecting with her on facebook, I quickly discovered her wit, contagious humor, genuine spirit and dedication to her writing. Quite simple, she is someone who is highly admirable. When I emailed her that she was one of my mother-in-law's favorite authors, she sent an autographed copy of her latest book to her. It made her month!
ReShonda posted on facebook that mothers could submit entries for review for an upcoming book she was writing on motherhood. Initially, I wasn't going to submit an essay because I thought there was no way in hell that a novice writer like myself would ever appear in a book by a best-selling author. But I soon realized that overcoming fear was one of my greatest strengths. As pointed o…

April Woes

April is a tough month for me. Once I get past all the silly April Fool's Day pranks (I've just never liked playing tricks on people), I am forced to ride an emotional roller coaster. My father passed away on Good Friday in 1991. Despite the number of years that have passed, I always remember him fondly as we head into the month of April.
April 24th, 2007, was a day that I will never forget. It was the third worst day of my life. I heard the dreadful words "You have breast cancer." Each year, I always celebrate in some manner reaching another remission milestone but something tragic happened to our family on April 12th, 2011, that will forever cause my heart to ache in April each year. My husband and dog were attacked by two pit bulls and had to fight for their life. Sadly, only my husband survived.
I'm actually embarrassed at how much losing my dog hurt and how it is impacted my life. I feel like a void exists despite having brought two new dogs (bichons) into o…

Media and Race

I just participated in my first "tweet up" as a media expert on a discussion about Race and Media. An Honors College graduate of The University of Houston in Radio & Television, I don't recall coursework or classes on this very important topic.
When I was growing up, I wanted to be on the news. I was fascinated with the women on television who always appeared poised and polished and full of intellect. Problem was I didn't see many, if any in the early years, of news reporters who looked like me. In fact, in my senior year memory book I wrote that I aspired to be like Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters or Paula Zahn. I hadn't met the Melanie Lawson's, Mary Benton's, Minerva Perez' or Soledad O'Brien's of the world yet!
Getting pregnant my sophomore year threw a monkey wrench in my plans. Even though I interned in Houston and worked briefly as a news producer after graduation, my obligation to parenthood was more important than working in media. …

The Ugly Truth About Breast Cancer Survivorship

I've been wanting to get something off my chest for a long time....besides breast cancer. There is a disturbing trend in the survivorship community of self-motivated breast cancer survivor "rock stars".
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35, I was devastated but took full accountability that I waited 8 months to see a doctor about my lump. Since my incompetent oncologist at that time made me feel that I only had a few years to live, I decided to embark full fledge on an awareness campaign, particularly in the African American community, so that no one else would have to endure a late stage diagnosis like me. My desire to save other women was my single motivating factor. If this could happen to me, this could happen to anyone.
Over the past 6 years, I have met some wonderful and inspiring survivors. Many of these women also share my desire to raise awareness and encourage healthy lifestyles and early detection. But there is a disturbing trend of surviv…

Two Moms-One Breathing Daughter

I had a conversation last evening that will probably stay on my mind a long time. I called a woman for a work related discussion and after getting the project out the way, we began talking about our daughters. I told her how much I missed my daughter, who is away at college, and how hard it is living here without her. She paused and replied "At least your daughter is in college. My daughter died of cancer when she was 17."
I was stunned. Searched for the right words to say but all I could muster up was "I'm sorry." Her daughter had been accepted into a prestigious university and wanted to be a pediatric oncologist. She planned on attending college because she never planned on dying.
This mom started a nonprofit to help other families through a difficult time. Normal Moments, Inc. is devoted to supporting parents with critically ill children in the home, in the hospital, and via web resources so that they can spend as much time as possible sharing the most norma…
Well after much deliberation, I have decided to start my own blog. For some reason, people actually like my thoughts, observations and wicked sense of humor. I will be the first to admit that I am not as plugged in with social media as I should be but I am slowly adapting to new and efficient ways to be productive.
I  think what inspired me most to begin a blog is some of the poor and malicious behavior I see demonstrated on facebook. At least with a blog, people actually WANT to be here. They want to read about your day, your trials and tribulations and your successes. Throughout this life journey, I have found that it is absolutely critical to have people in your corner who are like-minded, supportive and equally yolked. I used to think that was snobbish but time after time, I have painfully learned that when you have a life of purpose and productivity, those with less desires will attempt to pull you down with their own shortcomings. To quote Sweet Brown "Ain't nobody got …