Tag Archives: experiences

The Gift of ME

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to YOU! 

Happy Birthday to ME! 

I am so happy to be alive to celebrate the many achievements I’ve had over the years. First, a moment of transparency: I didn’t give any Christmas gifts this year.

From where I sit, I AM the GIFT.

I have given my friendship, loyalty, knowledge, encouragement throughout this year to others, without expecting anything in return and often without any reciprocation from the receivers. I have invested my own personal funds to provide opportunities and programming for the community in which I reside. I have volunteered my talents. I have given of my time and had it wasted, and I consider my time to be very valuable. I have done a great deal more and sometimes I haven’t even been told ‘thank you‘. In spite of whatever I did or didn’t receive in return, I keep doing for others because I believe in being a blessing to someone else, because I have been blessed. Even those who have been ignored by me were being given the Gift of ME.

As a society, we have gotten so accustomed to working hard all year-long just to put ourselves in debt to make other people happy, that we have lost so much of the meaning of Christmas in the process. Yes, it’s nice to give, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to give on one day a year. If you give of yourself throughout the year to others, whether you know them personally or not, you have done well. I have literally watched people operate under pressure as if they absolutely must buy someone in particular a gift and it must be wrapped and in their hands on Christmas day or the world will come to a screeching halt. I refuse to live my life that way. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate the Gift of ME, doesn’t have to be bothered with me. To me, it’s really that simple.

When you decide that you’re not going to spend your hard earned money for the sole purpose of making others happy, a few things will happen:

1. You’ll have more money 

2. You’ll find out who your true friends and loved ones are

3. Because of 1 and 2 you’ll have less stress in your life 

4. Because of 3 you’ll be happier and healthier

You’re more than welcome to continue to brave the malls and stores throughout the month of December in an effort to get the best deals, if that is what you want to do. I actually have some investments in those stores, so I thank you in advance for your contribution to my dividends. However, before Christmas comes in 2014, I encourage you to examine more closely WHY you spend the money on the gifts you buy and the people you buy them for. If the purpose is to say ‘thank you’ to someone, there are cards for that and I’ve heard some people are very partial to hearing the words. If the purpose is to impress others, please understand that they may not be impressed or like you because you bought them something anyway. If the purpose is to make yourself feel good, you won’t be feeling so great when that credit card bill comes, or an unexpected bill comes and you don’t have the funds to pay it because you spent money on gifts to give to others.

The best gifts I ever received were items I actually needed, could use to make my life simpler, that would save me money over time, or related to an experience I wanted but might not have had the money or time to get for myself. When shopping for someone next year, keep that in mind: What do they need? What could they use to make their life better or save them time? What might help them save money over time if you buy it for them? What would they like to experience? Gifts that make people’s lives better or even saves them time could be you hiring a house or carpet cleaner for that person. A closet organizer (person or system) is also a great option. A example of product that a person can use to save money would be a drinking water filtration system for someone who buys bottled water or an at home soda machine for someone who drinks soda. I have both and they work great. I love gifts that provide an experience. A gift certificate for the movies, tickets to a play or concert tickets are thoughtful gifts because they provide an experience for a person and often don’t cost a lot of money. Your time is a great gift to give to anyone. Because we have such busy lives and so much technology at our hands, we often let time rush by us and use ‘quick’ means to communication. Calling someone instead of texting them so that you can actually have a conversation with someone is a great gift to give. It shows that you took time out for them and that they matter to you.

I’m 39 years young today. I almost didn’t make it to this age. So I’m thankful just to be here and hearing ‘Happy Birthday‘ is an awesome gift to receive for me today. Today also marks my personal countdown to my next milestone birthday in 2014 when I turn #FabLife40. I don’t want any gifts then either. I just want some of my friends and family to celebrate with me in St. Maarten. Those who can attend, will. Those who can’t attend will miss a fabulous Christmas celebration full of margaritas, palm trees and sandy beaches. Either way, next Christmas, just like this Christmas, everyone will receive the Gift of ME.

By the way, Super Woman Productions and Publishing is the official Media Sponsor for Finding My Way Home on Saturday, February 15, 2014 at Royal Oak Library.

Living Without Regrets

With everything that has transpired in my life recently, I can honestly say that I don’t regret anything. I don’t regret the relationships that went sour, I don’t regret the business risks or decisions I made, regardless of the outcome. I find a certain amount of indescribable peace in my life. I don’t know if it is a result of maturation, age, wisdom, or a combination of them. But I don’t regret a single second.

I’ve decided to grab opportunities and moments as they arrive. About two weeks ago, I met someone I was extremely attracted to. And with the full knowledge that time with him would be limited, I enjoyed every second I spent with him. And I did so without regret. I ended a relationship that was unhealthy and unproductive. It was short lived. I don’t regret enterting into that relationship and I don’t regret ending it. Recently a business opportunity has come my way. It makes sense and will have long term benefits for me. I’m taking advantage of the opportunity and I will do so without regret. Life is too short to not live. Life is also too precious to dwell on the bad decisions we make and live fearful of taking chances. God doesn’t grant us the spirit of fear. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be cautious or knowledgeable in our decision making process. But we only have a certain amount of control over what other’s do or don’t. Therefore, decisions made shouldn’t be based on what someone else will or won’t do, can or can’t do, said or didn’t say. Decisions should only be made based on what’s within you as an individual and what you know, think, feel and care about. Decisions should be based on your own character and agenda. Not someone else’s. That is how you guarantee that you live without regrets and live life fully. Don’t fear being open to change. Change is good. I’ve said before that it promotes growth. Change also isn’t always directed specifically at you. The change you experience may also be to benefit, adjust or impact someone else involved. When that happens you are being used as an instrument of change in the Master’s Plan. There’s nothing to regret about that.

I’ve got so many plans. Places to go, things to do and many people yet to meet. Everyone comes into your life for something. Although people don’t always enter your life for the right reasons, I’ve made a conscious decision to judge each person, male or female, based on their own merits, not those of others. Therefore, there isn’t any regret. If a person falls short,  it’s not due to me expecting them to fall short because of the previous person’s actions, or inaction. If a person disappoints me, it’s not because I expected them to disappoint me because the last person disappointed me. If the relationship dies, it won’t be because my last one did. I can’t change other people, I can only change how I react to and accept them. I can either accept them as they are or not deal with them at all. Either way, it is without regret.

Holding onto regrets doesn’t change the situation, change the past or set the future on a different path. Holding onto regret only burdens the holder. When you release  regret, you also release the fears that were born of those regrets. When you release that fear you live a more open, honest and forgiving life. Forgiveness begins within. If you can’t forgive yourself for the plans that went awry, the relationships that went to the left (to the left, everything you own in the box to the left) or the opportunities you let slip away, you will not be able to live your life to the fullest. You will always be shackled by those regrets. That’s not a purpose driven life. That’s not how I choose to live. I don’t expect everyone to understand what I mean in this post. Experiences are like noses – everyone has one and people make judgements based on their own. I personally have a peace of mind about everything that I do, have done and will do, as well as any experiences I have had –  good, bad or ugly. I don’t have any regrets.  

So today, I will relax, relate, release, renew, refocus and not regret.

Life is too beautiful to do anything other than that.

 

Judging A Book By Its Cover

I get a lot of flack for my photographs and book cover. People think the photos are too sensual, too sexy, pornographic and all types of ridiculous things depending on their own standards. People assume I’m peddling sex or that I’m a stripper, or worse, that I’m one of those women who randomly tags people into her bathroom booty pictures on Facebook. They assume that I’m ignorant, uneducated, that I have low morals, that I’m an attention whore and that I don’t believe in, respect or love God. They seem to forget that God made the human body and that some of the most famous artwork in the world consists of the human body shown nude. I receive the most criticism from people who say they are Christians. I find it all very interesting. I’m a walking, living, breathing social experiment watching the world and how it reacts simply because it judges a book by its cover instead of reading the pages.

Recently an article was written about me by Yvette Caslin for Rolling Out Magazine with a very provocative title. The title is a definite attention getter and I love it. If a person only reads the title, they will make several assumptions about it and the content of the article. That title will either persuade them to read the article or it will dissuade them from reading the article. However, without actually reading the article, people will likely make the wrong assumption. Someone who read the article, and had seen my book prior but didn’t buy it, said to me that after reading the article they feel completely different about my book than they did before. What they had done prior was look that the book cover of my book, read the title of my book, and made a determination that it wasn’t worth their time, energy, effort or money to purchase. She probably assumed I was a younger, (single) woman who had written a tell-all book about all of the raunchy, nasty, dirty sex I had previously had with random men (ala Karrine Steffans). Now, after reading the article in Rolling Out Magazine, this person can’t wait to buy a copy of my book so she can enhance her relationship with her husband.

It’s not unusual for anyone to judge a book by its cover. We’ve all done it at some point towards someone else. A lot of it is our biases which develop because of our experiences, our social environment, our personal views, and our upbringing. Anyone who says they’ve never formed an opinion about someone without knowing them is dishonest. Even if for a split second, everyone has done it. Some people just do it more often and more to the extreme than others. If you dislike someone without ever having personal interaction with that person, and you can’t clearly verbalize a logical explanation for your dislike of that person (i.e. she looked at me funny/she thinks she’s cute), it’s likely you are judging a book by its cover. Although this occurs in society as a whole, it is constant behavior among women. So many woman have “disliked” me for unexplainable reasons. Those who have taken the time to actually get to know me, discover that I am nothing like they “thought” I was. Unfortunately, very few people take the opportunity to get to know someone prior to forming an opinion about them from afar. It would be nice if that weren’t the case.

There’s a woman I see often in passing. Until yesterday, I didn’t know her name or anything about her. All I knew about her was that she never spoke to me or smiled when she and I would pass each other, regardless of how pleasantly I said hello, attempted to make eye contact with her or how big my smile was. Eventually, I began to feel rejected, as anyone would, and I stopped making an effort to speak to her. I felt it was a waste of time and energy because she would never reply to me. She’s not the first woman to not speak to me. Believe it or not, it’s a regular occurrence in my life for women to behave this way towards me. [My personal defense mechanism is to ignore them everytime they are anywhere near me. That method may not be best for everyone, but it prevents me from becoming annoyed by something I have no control over.] After having more recent interaction with this particular woman, I discovered that she had some personal conflicts in her life that were taking a stressful toll on her. Having been in a similar situation in my life before, I now sympathize with her instead of thinking she’s just an angry and rude woman. Although her situation doesn’t excuse her behavior (and she may very well be both angry and rude), now knowing that she’s going through drama in her personal life allows me to no longer judge her harshly based on a brief encounter with her. She’s human and she’s allowed to have some bad days. I have my bad days, too. Being Super Woman is hard work and it’s stressful. It would be nice if this woman didn’t take her bad days out on anyone else, but I can’t control that. The only think I can control is whether or not I judge her without taking the time to get to know her. I’m not saying she and I will become friends, but the next time I speak and she doesn’t, I won’t feel rejected and I won’t think poorly of her as a result. She’s not just a book cover to me now.

Every book written isn’t the sum of its cover. There are pages inside of books for a reason. The pages are there to tell the story. Sometimes a book cover is just a pretty picture utilized to grab your attention and nothing more. Sometimes a book cover gives you a brief visual idea of what the book is about. And sometimes a book cover has nothing to do with the content on the pages. Take the time to read the book for yourself and form your own opinion based on what you read, not just what you see on the cover. You may find that if you take the time and effort to do so, it may change how you react to things in your life in general.

 

Not So Funny…Actually, It Is

I am always amazed at God’s display of humor in my life. This year has been a virtual roller coaster ride and it’s only May. Every step I take feels challenged by some drama, that ends up turning into a blessing. I’ve been through so much in the last few months and sometimes fear what’s yet to come. But God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). So as my book sales of “The Goodie Bag” in paperback started to lag, I made a business decision that I knew I could live with. I decided to sale a Kindle Version. Now the book is available in three formats in less than six months. Yes, I said three. You didn’t know that was even possible, did you? Next I decided to put out a Kindle Version of my short story “The Pharaoh’s Throne” which is a story about a man who defies his parents instructions to take a wife and build his kingdom with her. It has a very unexpected ending.

The spirit of power, love and a sound mind guides me when I have the worst day ever and comforts me when it’s the best day yet. It allows me to joke about marrying my Steve Maddens because I’m still single, but reminds me that is only because my Superman needs his garden weeded in order to find me. When I feel lonely because so many of my friends are married or in committed relationships and I’m not, it restores my belief and faith in love, because they are an example for me that keeps my hope intact. When I want to give up this quest to build this brand, someone I’ve never met says that I helped them with my words. Moments like that are when I feel the arms of God wrap around me and tell me I am on the right track and he will carry me until I can walk again.

I know that I was built for greatness and success. I know that my talents and gifts were given to me to entertain, inspire, motivate and serve others in a multitude of ways. I know that what I have today is just a small fraction of what I will have in days to come. I often feel that I will walk this life journey without a partner, but I’m smart enough to know that I don’t get the last word on that. It takes a very special type of man to appreciate a woman like me, regardless of how many men have tried – and failed. I know that in my life, this is true: For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48). God has breathed life into me, not once, not twice, but three times in my life. He’s given me opportunities that others haven’t been blessed with. And as a result, I have a lot of work to do and responsibility to uphold. I am not “allowed” to quit because there is more that is needed of me.

When things happen to me, I understand that many factors come into to play. Decisions I made, or didn’t make, people I’ve met that concluded their season, or had a specific reason, and the fact that God just has a sense of humor. Building of character in a human being is not an easy task. It’s not going to always be pretty. Sometimes it might even physically hurt. But when you can go through flames like I have, you grow. With that growth also comes wisdom. That wisdom gives you discernment. That discernment gives you peace.

As I think back on some of the things I’ve experienced (bad marriage, miscarriages, theft of my home/car, baby daddy drama, man troubles, everyone who tried to hinder my dreams, and countless other events), I giggle just a little bit. I giggle because I won. I giggle because I’m stronger, better and smarter because of everything I’ve dealt with. I giggle because those experiences have and will allow me to help others avoid or overcome similar situations in their lives.

I giggle because I remember when each of those things was happening to me, I was saying “God, this sh*t is not so funny.” But now in retrospect, actually, it is hilarious.