Two forgotten words

It’s crazy how times have changed. Men used to open doors for women. When adults were talking, children never interrupted and if they did they said, “Excuse me.” Elbows were never allowed on the table and you never, ever talked with food in your mouth. No one seemed to stare at people and point fingers directly at someone. You never talked loud in public and if you ever embarrassed your parents in the grocery store, there was a big price to pay when you got home. But what happened to saying the words “thank you?”

For the life of me, I cannot figure out when did that go out the window. I’m appalled by how people don’t say “thank you” anymore. When someone buys lunch for you, you’re supposed to say “thank you.” If you drop something and someone picks it up for you, you’re supposed to say “thank you.” If someone tells you that you look nice today, you say “thank you.” More common responses to the above gestures are “you owed me lunch anyway,” “these bones can’t bend like they used to” and “this old outfit?”

Thank you

Not trying to toot my horn here but I say “thank you” all the time. I probably say it too much and that’s probably why it stands out to me that so many people do not. And, I think it’s even worse when you have to ask someone to say “thank you” for something that you have done for them. So, this is the solicited “thank you.” If I have to ask someone to say “thank you” to me, then they weren’t going to say it anyway. They can keep that sorry “thank you” because it’s not heart felt.

Maybe I need to just accept the fact that the world is drastically changing. But, the next time someone does something for you, mind your manners and just say two words, “thank you.”

Keep it in a book

I once heard a phrase that if you want to hide something from someone put it in a book. That one phrase kicked up my book reading to a whole new level. As you probably can tell I set some huge goals for myself this year one of which was to read 50 books. I usually read between 5 to 8 books a year. But this year, I’m not just going to read my normal fiction stories but educational books, historical books, health books and everything in between.

I have a huge thirst for knowledge and the best way to quench this thirst is to read. I have this big, huge brain which probably hasn’t even reached a 1/4 of its’ potential. It’s time to call my brain to its’ complete potential.

Yeah, I am one of those people who spends hours in the library. I have an iPod, a laptop, iPhone and an iPad but there is nothing that compares to sitting in a chair and holding a book in my hand. That cannot compare to anything being stored in my iCloud. Nothing compares to finding a really nice bookmark to hold your place. When I go to the library I come out with tons of books. Some people have shoe fetishes, I have a book fetish. I have to be surrounded with books. It’s just me.

I stumbled across an app to help me keep track of all the books that I have read. (Come on, I still need to use technology!) It’s called Goodreads. LOVE IT!!! I have about 5 books that I’m reading right now.

Many people ask me how do I choose new authors or subjects. Most of the subjects I read about are from subjects that I need more information about. Like I needed to get more information on working with customers so I picked up Lee Cockerell’s “The Customer Rules.” It’s an easy read from an experienced executive from Disney. I found this book on the new book shelf. I was browsing and it just jumped out at me. Love when this happens because now I have to read all the other books that he has written.

If you are not a book reader, you should consider picking up a book. You never know what’s been hiding from you.

Do you have stinking thinking?

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I think that it’s crazy how we limit ourselves with the negative self-talk that we do. Phrases like, “I could never…” or “If I was as smart as…”

One question for you: WHO LABELED YOU? Who was the dumb person that convinced you that you could never be nothing or amount to anything?

Self-esteem is something that can be developed by you. Change your attitude today. Change your outlook on life. Write down your dreams and visions. Discover your talents. Get out there and make it happen!

Here are some 6 tips to help you raise your self-esteem:
1. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.
2. Hang out with positive people.
3. Accept compliments and don’t knock them down.
4. Forgive yourself for things that you have done in the past.
5. Make a list of all your positive attributes.
6. Stop criticizing yourself.

Looking for feedback here. If there was one piece of advice that you could give to someone who was struggling with self esteem issues, what would it be?

The morning after

Have you ever did something so good and then you had to wake up the next morning?

I was up at 5am and out the door by 5:45am to take my one hour commute across town. I worked 11 hours today all to realize that nothing about today compared to my one week vacation that ended last night. I guess I made my vacation "too good": visiting friends, enjoying the beautiful mountains, sleeping in til I was ready to get up and even eating all the food I wanted and gaining the one, two or even three pounds. (lol)

But what could I have done to combat this dismal feeling that I experienced? Maybe I should have tried to have had a bad vacation. That's just dumb! But wait a minute. Could you imagine trying to make your vacation horrible so you don't come home happy? Could you imagine trying to make it terrible so the let down wouldn't be so devastating when you return back to your normal life? Is this brilliant?

I can just imagine the headline of that blog: How I had a horrible vacation…on purpose.

I need to blog

Can’t believe that it has been since October of 2012 that I last blogged. Where has the time gone? Something was missing in my life. I was frustrated and feeling incomplete. I lost some inner peace and then last month it dawned on me that I had gotten away from blogging.

There is something so therapeutic about blogging. Sitting down with everything imaginable going on around you and you in your own world, sitting there typing out whatever is going on in your head.

Love it! Can’t live without it.

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The Parable of Big Toe

 

Once there was a big toe that knew he was supposed to be in charge.

He had a small army that would argue, fuss and fight and push each other all the time.

He would look behind him and yell, “Hey, stop that pushing and shoving and get in line.”

They in return would yell, “We don’t want to, we’re doing just fine.”

 

He would question himself time and time again. What am I doing wrong with them? I just can’t win.

I told them I’m their leader; I’ve even tried to be their friend.

I am a failure. I’m a loser.  Big Toe was starting to unravel around the ends.

 

The next time he called them to attention he had a great idea. He thought that if he lined them up, maybe some kind of order would appear.

I could tell each of them their importance based upon their size. He got so excited he called a meeting right then, “Hey, come over here you guys!”

 

“I know lately we’ve been having some miscommunication. We seem to be a little unsure.

But let’s try something different. I believe I have the cure.”

 

“Toe #2: You are second in charge. You’ll stand right beside me.

You will keep us safe from all our enemies.

Toe #3: You have a place here too. As you are in the middle, I need you to be like glue.

Hold us together and keep us strong. With you in the middle nothing could go wrong.

Toe #4: Stand next to Toe #3. You are firm and supportive, just like a tree.

Toe #5: You are my best friend. You bring our balance even though you’re down on the end.”

You might be small in structure, you might be cute to some, but I know that without you our work couldn’t get done.”

 

Big Toe stood back and looked at their new line up and he was very pleased.

The troops even felt better as they now had order and their minds were put to ease.

Everyone now knew their position and they knew their place.

Big Toe had established himself as a leader and that put a smile on his face.

 

A note from me: I wrote this poem last week. I was inspired from looking at my own toes! Leadership is a huge lesson to master. It doesn’t come from screaming and shouting. It comes from leading by example and being organized. If you have a problem with the team, group or office that you are in charge of, look inside yourself first.

Motivation. How to keep it?

As we know life delivers so many ups and downs. Each day is completely different from the next. Some days everything goes absolutely great and others you probably feel like you wish you never had gotten out of bed.

How do you keep going in this crazy world? What helps you keep one foot in front of the other? Is it your faith, your spouse, your children, career?

Personally, I’m motivated by my faith in God, my family and my will to succeed. Just opening my eyes each day lets me know that my life has purpose. I’ve told my sons countless times that the alarm clock did not wake you up this morning. God woke you up this morning. That’s motivation enough!

Today, would be a great day to stop and think about this subject. Grab a piece a paper and journal out your thoughts. Put down what motivates you. Hang it up somewhere that is always visible. Reflect on it constantly. Then the next time you have a bad day, that day won’t be so bad after all.

Business Card Refresher

In our paperless age and with the advancement of technology, one thing remains constant: BUSINESS CARDS! You can’t live without them.

Here’s my top 10 business card tips:

  1. Carry business cards with you 24-7. Whenever I’m in a meeting or out shopping, I realize that potential contacts are everywhere. What better way to foster a business relationship than to have a business card to hand them? Put a stash here and there: your car, office, gym locker, etc.
  2. Always carry your business card in a business card holder. NEVER carry them in a sandwich bag or stuff them in your back pocket. I recently placed an order from www.elighters.com. They offered free engraving. That was cool!
  3. When someone gives you their business card, don’t turn it over and write notes on it in front of them. Jot notes on your smart phone as soon as you get a chance about the interaction. When you get to your office, stable the business card to a 4×6 card. On the 4×6 card jot down the date that you met the person and the notes that you put in your smart phone. File them all in a 4×6 card holder.
  4. Keep all the information on your business card current. That includes title changes, email address, phone number and fax number too.
  5. Your name should be the biggest thing on the card. Make it stand out. It should be easy to read with a simple, clear font.
  6. When you give out business cards, give 2 to 3. Ask the receiver to give one to a friend or a business contact. When they do, ask them who they gave it to. Send the initial receiver a Thank You card.
  7. Looking for a tag line for your email? Scan your business card!
  8. Make your presentation stand out. Here is how I present my business cards when I’m in networking meetings. I bought these pre-sealed bags from Wal-Mart the craft aisle. I put my card inside and a mint.

    When I’m in a networking meeting, I present my business cards in individual sealed bags.

  9. Make your card invaluable. Choose double side printing and print the calendar on the back. This makes the receiver keep it a whole year.
  10. Put your business card in every corporate/client gift that you give out.

Put these tips to work for you. They are invaluable and they do make a difference.

 

 

Last night’s dessert was phenomenal…had to share the recipe

Obviously, I love to cook and create delicious items. Last night, I went bonkers and created a dish that I just had to share the recipe for. Read the directions completely before making.

Cream Cheese Fruit Oatmeal Barr’s (Love my last name. It fits everywhere. Haha)

Cream Cheese Fruit Oatmeal Barr’s

Cream Cheese Fruit Oatmeal Barr’s
This is all that remains. It was awesome!

Ingredients

For oatmeal mixture:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups quick oats

For cream cheese spread:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberry and boysenberry) Puree until just about smooth

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with shortening.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and quick oats. Press 2 cups of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until golden.
  3. In small bowl,  beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust.
  5. Spread pureed fruit evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  6. Spread remaining oatmeal mixture on top of fruit.
  7. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until set. Cool on rack.

Enjoy and don’t forget to send me your comments!

Definition of “Going Natural”

I’ve been asked quite often lately about what does the phrase “going natural” mean. I’m going to try my best to clear up the confusion.

See “going natural” does not indicate that you are in rebellion to something or joining some type of secret society or you have a point to prove. It simply means that you are no longer altering your hair with a chemical process.

I’m wearing my hair naturally now because chemically processing my hair was not to my benefit any more (it probably never was). I was in pain and I was extremely frustrated with the process. I never went to a dermatologist to get my scalp analyzed but the proof was in the pudding. Even my personal anxiety that would build up as it got closer to getting a touch up was crazy.

Most people don’t realize that black women get perms to straighten out the hair for manageability, maybe style preference or even to smooth out their curls. My reason was because my un-permed hair is thick, course and untamed. It’s wild!! But it was for those very same reasons that almost aided me to keep on getting perms and enduring the pain for the sake of manageability.

I like to research before I do anything. Before I took the plunge, I spent about 4 weeks researching how to take care of natural hair. I had to figure out what were the maintenance steps, what types of products to use, how to style it, and even what websites offered the most support. I even did some soul searching to make sure I would be okay with the stares that I knew I would get from people I knew and those that I don’t know. People are funny when it comes to change. Not everybody reacts the same to change. I actually had people stop talking to me when they first saw my Big Chop. I was the same person, just shorter hair. But one conversation with my husband, squashed all those fears of what others would think. He supported my decision so it doesn’t matter what others thought. He matters most.

This topic is going to be an ongoing category for me. There is no way I can explain everything in just two posts. Today I want to share a close up picture of my scalp taken on January 29, 2012.

Snapshot of my hair and scalp before my “Big Chop.” The wavy part is called new growth or un-permed hair. The straight part is chemically processed. The touch up process chemically straightens out the wavy new growth.

If you have questions on this topic, please don’t hesitate to ask. I love talking about this topic. My next post will be about how I maintain my hair and what products I use.