Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Did it. I Did The Ugly Cry...

Hello Everyone!

Our house has a new toddler running about. Well, she's been running about but she's just turned 2. Our littlest cub is now full on into toddlerhood. This little kiddo came into our lives and turned it on it's side, and it's still spinning like an unpredictable wobbly top. No complaints for sorrow for our rockin house. It's fun. She's pretty hilarious to watch. She's such a goofy unpredictable kid. I believe God started with a smile when creating her. Even if she is giving us a hard time, we laugh at her funny antics when the day is done. One of the great things about her is her love language is touch. She cuddles and snuggles like no one else. It's been 2 great years of unpredictable living with this little quirky kiddo. To many more! Happy Birthday littlest cub!


We have a birthday tradition in our home. Before Daddy goes off to work everyone gets up for a mini birthday celebration. It's the first thing the birthday member sees when they come downstairs. It's a sweet welcome into their new year in our family. We spend all night preparing for the morning. Mainly because we have to wait until they go to bed! The girls have made custom cakes for their brother. I remember one year he drew out his birthday cake for them to design. The girls enjoy doing this sort of stuff and we really appreciate their efforts. Last year for my son's 13th birthday his older sisters talked me into smashing his cake to welcome him into the teen years. His expression was priceless. We got it all on video and Here it is. Oh don't worry. We aren't that cruel. We had his real cake sitting in the refrigerator all decked out for him. Any how, in our family you wake up to cards, presents, cake or cupcakes, blowing out candles to a happy birthday song and Granny and Grandad ring from England. Then the rest of the day is spent however it's desired. One thing's for sure, we thank God for each member of our family.


 For the little one's 2nd birthday celebration we took her to Monkey Joes. 
The older kids went along but were on the iPads because it's only for small kiddos. Little Joy and Little Quirky had loads of fun. They took on the biggest slides! 





 We thought they would have been really tired after all the climbing, bouncing and sliding. Eh we were wrong. They were hungry! So afterwards we decided to go to IHOP. 


Now we had not been there in a long time. In fact we rarely go out to eat because our family is large enough that our budget takes a dent each time which is enough for me to easily see the sense in us eating in. We also have 7 people. There have been so many times the hostess will make a comment. The waiter or waitress gets overwhelmed at first sight. Funny thing is, they relax after they realize we aren't high maintenance and they should get a good sized tip from the cost of our bill. Let me tell you, working in the public is no joke. I will always be polite to the person serving me. It does not matter if that person is at a fast food chain repeating gobbly goo back at me via the drive thru. It's please and thank you to them. Keep in mind, even though these jobs aren't billion dollar money makers, the people in these positions have a story, they are serving and that is one of the highest positions you can have. Think about it, Christ served us a great deal. Ok anyhow... 

So the host seats us. I have a bad habit of scoping the place out to see who we will be sitting by. I will notice where we sit, the table, etc. I don't complain but just take note for future visits. So we get a booth. I thought oh goodness how are we going to all fit in here?! We did! I was wrong for mentally complaining. Then I noticed we were seated next to a guy sitting by himself in the booth in front of us, but behind the kids. I thought Oh no, please don't let my loud family annoy this man. He didn't ask for us to come intrude his quiet dinner! He was alone and taking care of business via phone. He sounded like he was an attorney from his conversation. Yes we (me and my older girls) listened in between our own family's mayhem. I thought oh wow he's doing something there! So we continued on looking at the menu and talking. The man left quietly and we were still waiting on our food came. As we were waiting and being our semi loud family selves the host appears at our table. I thought he was going to tell us they were out of a particular food. Then se said, "You know the guy that was sitting in the booth next to you..." I thought to myself "oh no we must have been too loud that he complained." He continued on to say, "He paid for your dinner." Complete silence at our table! My mouth dropped open in shock! We were shocked and overwhelmed by his generosity. We all let out a "Awwwww! Oh my gosh how nice!" verging on tears. We looked around. He was gone.  Nowhere to found! The man paid for our dinner. He paid for our dinner! We had 7 meals! We know it the bill was at least $70.00 plus the tip! I tried my best to stop it but I did it. I busted out with the ugly cry. He paid for our meal! He could have chosen anyone else in that restaurant. He could have paid for someone with a smaller bill. He didn't for whatever reason he chose to bless our family. I can't tell you how much that has blessed my heart. I am so moved. God please bless him abundantly!! Please bless him abundantly! I can't think or talk about it without going into tears. How sweet! Selfless! How kind! What a way to make an impact on a family's life! 

God is amazing. He is no doubt amazing! Thank you father for sending this message of love through those who have wonderful hearts. I have no idea why he did it, but he has prayers for him going up from this family every time we think of him.

So paying it forward? Of course!! We already know how. The Lord showed us tonight. Blessings going forward.


 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Company I Keep

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for enduring another one of my writings. I hope your September has started out well. In the U.S. we are on our way to fall. I know here in the midwest some folks are looking forward to it. I'm a Texan who was born in August and I like the warm weather. So I'm not really not looking forward to the cooler season. I like the warm weather, but every season has it's purpose.

Speaking of seasons, there was one season or point in my life where I started to notice labels. Labels on food, and personal items. I'm a curious person. I like to know how things work and what things are made of down to the little particle. I'm not a Scientist but I do admire them. In fact I'm often excited to see a friend of mine who is a Scientist post online. She's brilliant. Any how, no I'm not one but I admire them. I'm a curious person as I said above. So I turn things over to see where they are made, and what it's made of. I also like things as natural as I can get it. I'm not fully organic in every way but I'd like to be. As I was turning labels, I noticed a lot of very long names in my products. What are these things? Ingredients use to intimidate me. I felt dumb because I couldn't pronounce the name without saying it slow or I didn't know what it was without looking it up. So I bought thing great book called the Green Beauty Guide. It helped me to know more about ingredients. So I learned, and I decided I would try a few things. I'm a brown lady with kinky curly hair. I would shop for hair products in the "ethnic" section of stores. I noticed most of the products contained long words and the first ingredient was water. Well that's all great- sometimes- but what if I wanted something that wasn't mostly water? I got water from the tap and the shower! I could add that very essential ingredient for less than what I was paying for in certain products. So I decided to try to mix my own butters and oils together. I found that it's a fairly concentrated product that lasted a while. I found that I couldn't use this like I used other products because it would be too much. So I blended an all natural product that goes a long way and I could use it on my skin and hair! I talked about it a bit and asked my husband if he thinks I could sell it. He thought so. So I sent a few friends some samples of it. The first ones were sent in jars of baby food with handwritten labels! They loved it. I asked for honesty, brutal honesty and all said they loved it! I was excited that no one told me it was useless! I sent it to my mother and sister who don't hold back on telling me things, and they liked it. So I started selling it online. I call it Pure Natural Blends. I decided to give people an option of making their own blends too. It's all natural. A little fun fact is they are actually edible. My little ones have gotten into the things I mix up for us, and you know everything goes into the little ones mouths! Neither one of them have ever gotten sick. Well it's because the ingredients are all simple. I include a glossary of ingredients on the website too. I hope to have a growing company from this! The Pure Natural Blends products are dual usage which means you can use them on both skin and hair. When you visit the site you might notice the names of the products. Well I like feel good things. So I name all my products from affirmations, words that uplift and encourage. :) Oh and please order something!

My other passion is graphic design. I got a degree Liberal Arts degree from UMSL with the concentration of Graphic Design and Art History. Well since I am a stay at home mother who homeschools her kids, I didn't feel drawn to the agency life just yet. I decided to freelance. I started with Tsmiles.com, then DesignVirtue.com, now it's just Creativelytawanna.com. I'm not doing a lot of freelance due to my awful non marketing habits. Most of my work comes word of mouth. I like what I do. I'm drawn into a certain simplistic style that makes me feel good. I also have a love for photography. If I was to go back to school for photography I would go back for Photo Journalism. Right now my life consists of being home. I photograph life as it happens here... the now... this very moment of my life. My subjects are usually my children and home surroundings. My husband bought me this awesome DLSR for Christmas years ago. I love it, but for convenience I have opted for my iPhone. I know it's crazy and insulting to the professional photographer to lose all that quality, but it works for now and I'm not a pro. I will pick that DSLR up when I can focus better, and my shots are no longer of my amusing toddler's quick antics around the house.




See a bit of iPhone and instagram and there I go! Well let me justify it further why I do this, I have family in far places that want to see photos, this way allows me to post photos to different sites for them to see. I have yet to order my wireless SD card for my DLSR. Priorities! Anyhow I'm a freelance graphic designer. I have worked for churches, small businesses and individuals. If you will, browse my portfolio!

So those are my two companies. I want to start another one, in fact one is in the works now but we shall see how it goes! What are your companies, business online, home business or both? When did you start your own business? Any advice for a newbie?

Have a peaceful sleep. I'm off to bed and Good morning!




Friday, August 30, 2013

Beautiful Mother of an Image



This baby to mother image moved me. Its brilliant! A friend shared it on Facebook this week and I'm thankful for it. Every mother can identify with this. It's such a beautiful visual of the progress of life. Just wanted to share this with you. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Today's Refresher.

1. How are you feeling? I feel like I should be blogging about lighter topics. So I will... for now.

2. How is/was the weather today? It was nice! Love warm weather. I wish it would stay but I know fall is coming. Oh to live in a warmer state!

3. What happened this morning/evening?
Every morning I wake up to one cute little Quirky kid at the side of my bed. She comes with different antics to wake me up. Some consist of squeezing into bed and sitting on my head, patting on my face, or smacking me with my ipad, or poking me while trying to put my glasses on my face. She's a cutie and I love seeing her in the mornings. I remember wanting my mom to wake up with my antics.

4. What's on your mind?
My kids sitting right here on the fireplace talking about events and friends. Wow they are growing up.

5. What positive things happened today?
Well lets see, one of my girls cleaned up really well today because she was bored!! OMG *faint* I was grateful she did that. My son got to go to a swim party today. I took my girls to the park.

6. What things did you notice needed a change today?
I really need to not let little distractions suck up my day.

7. What things made you happy?
I got a phone call from my friend Bridget!! My daughter cleaning, taking the little ones to the park, hearing my little one read. Seeing my kids just talk.
I have to say I'm so proud of my little one reading.


8. What did you wear today?
A black maxi dress.

9. What did you cook today and what's on the menu tomorrow?
A hearty salad. Love these salads. I have this obsession with sauteed onions, mushrooms, and salmon together. I'll put that with cheese on top of lettuce or spinach and ranch dressing. Oh I'll add avocado and anything else I want. Yum!

10. What DIY recipe have you tried today?
Oh! I made soap for the first time! I'm so excited! Check out this beautiful blog Essentially Eclectic and this soap and candle store jackbenimblecandles.com These were my inspriation sites for making me soap. Here is how it turned out. I can't wait to make more! I didn't follow the recipes exactly. I used Almond Butter, Oats, Emu Oil, Honey, Bergamot and Lemon Essential Oils. The only thing I don't like is it doesn't suds. I know suds doesn't mean clean, but I like the feel of a good thick lather. I do like the simple ingredients of making my own soap.


11. What new thing did you learn today?
I learned my listening to this conversation that my son is missing his files from our computer that just died.

12. What did your kids do today?
They did school work, napped, cleaned, went to a swim party, went to the park etc.

13. Where did you go today?
The Park.

14. Who touched your heart today?
Oh hearing about the young man who played Jett Jackson died.

15. Any spiritual topics on your mind?
I'd like to learn more about the Holy Spirit, Angels, and the Heavenly realm.

16. Any new/completed Projects?
The soap! Next is candles or more soap!

17. Any progress made on the todo list?
Yes! This past weekend we did some landscaping! Finally got something out there that looks good! We are quite proud of the outcome of our hard work. I'd show a picture but I haven't taken any good ones yet. I do have one of my little quirky one helping us by staying busy.

18. Did you help anyone today?
Um not anyone that I know of.

19. Any neat online finds?
Um not anything other than the links posted above. Oh wait yes! How about a Free Algebra Check up Assessment?  I found this while looking for SAT and ACT resources. If you have any please share them with me!

20. Prayer for others: 
I prayed this and had it as my status today on facebook for all the kids going back to school:  Lord please strengthen their Guardian Angels to be with them and an active part of their lives at all times. Please give them good friends that encourage integrity, wisdom and good character. Let them learn easily from the teachers they have. Lord please give the teachers peace, and bless them with wisdom to deal with any situation that may occur. Let them sense needs to be able to help students and faculty. Please protect them from any attacks of the enemy as they have a huge job on their hands to help build the future along with the kids and parents. Father God please give parents peace and wisdom through out the school year. In Jesus name Amen.

 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Yesterday...This Was Hard to Write.

I actually found myself in tears last night as I went to bed. I promised myself I would not get emotionally tied into the recent news. I guess it finally hit me yesterday as I read replies on an image I posted. The cold response and what happened in my life earlier the same day brought me to tears. My eyes are still puffy from crying myself to sleep last night. I'm still trying to shake this off. Crazy right?

See I had a status stating that I had not done much most of the day so I was going to take the kids out to the park. We ended up staying home and they played outside. As I was outside with the two little ones letting them play in their pool and various toys, I heard a car passing by and glanced up. It was a police car patrolling by. I wondered why they would be patrolling because we don't see those very often where we live. This apparently was described as an "upscale neighborhood." I've seen better, but it is a nice neighborhood. It's situated around a golf course that is well taken care of. Our view of nature keeps us surprised and entertained. It's something we appreciate. Let me add we are not the only minorities living in this neighborhood. As the police car passed I continued to play with my daughters. I glanced back just to see if they were going to turn around and pull into our driveway like the other police officer did about a month ago. No, they pulled into the cul de sac beside us. It's an empty grassy lot that allows you to look right down to us from where the police officer pulled into. At that point our door was open so when I saw it make a turn I called for Richard to come outside. I wanted a witness. Apparently in our society if there are no witnesses then it's hard to believe these things happen.  The police car sat across from me as my back was turned. I know because I heard the car running there. I'm well aware I'm being watched, seen, observed, could it be racial profiling? Whatever you see fit to call it. Maybe I should have felt protected? But against what? The police officer paused for a moment. I turned around to look at the car and then they slowly roll towards the street and then drive off. Rich comes to the door just in time to see it drive off up the hill...

I tried to play it off that it didn't bother me. You know since things like that shouldn't bother me because we live in a "post racial" society. We have a biracial president and all right? You may believe so. I guess I didn't play it off well because Rich says it's changed my mood. I became quiet and withdrawn. I pondered what my threat to this neighborhood was, I questioned my own safety if I was to be out at night, would a Zimmerman approach with a gun to "question" me? Is a mother playing with her children suspicious? I wasn't portraying any sort of "look". I had on a long skirt and t-shirt. The same clothes I wore to church. Did I look wrong? Do I not have a right to live in this neighborhood? We don't cause problems. My kids have had a few parties but you want to know something else? All of the kids that had been here for those parties look white at first glance. I wondered why I can't play outside with my kids without the chance of a police car either pulling into our driveway asking-"Those yours?" or slowly "watching." It makes me hesitate because I don't know what my experience is going when I step outside my front door. Does everyone feel this way about going outside?  If I say the word racism people roll their eyes and say "Oh give us a break! You can't prove it. No that's not right. You shouldn't...." to block it out and deny it happens. It happens more often that we speak about. In fact my children don't even know about what happened yesterday. They will eventually because I'm having a hard time shaking this feeling, or even stopping myself from tearing up while blogging this. See this is MY life. It's a little of what being brown in America is like. People don't like to hear of that stuff. Everyone has their opinions about the life I live. What I should do, where I should go, what I should say. No one is satisfied. If I speak about it, I'm shunned, labeled, dismissed, disregarded -unheard- If I remain quiet it's a suffer in silence lifestyle.

As I go about my day doing normal things like playing with the kids, cleaning etc...my mind wanders again thinking, maybe they were just admiring a mom playing with their kids? But from the constant reactions from sales man and delivery men bluntly saying, "Wow we don't see many of YOU in this neighborhood." it's hard to believe that the police officer wasn't observing that fact also. My children were even told by their friends that they didn't expect them to live here saying things such has, "...but you are black!" Yes it has been boldly said to us more than a few times. Are we only expected to live in all black areas? Low income buildings? Apartments? Nothing higher? Maybe if I'm a famous black person I'll get a pass to live in a decent area with out the surprise reactions. Every time I open my door to a stranger they are challenged to know who I am. Maid? Babysitter? Oh *pause* Homeowner?

Some make sense of "us" being here as soon as they see my husband. I guess I got a pass since my husband at first glance is white? He's not, he is British. A foreigner. Its entertaining to watch their reactions when they hear his english accent. How and WHY on earth did HE marry HER? He hates it, I deal with it. Friends and even the people at our very own church asked that same question. My husband is frequently reminded of the heavy question I asked him before we started dating, "Are you ready for an interracial relationship?" He said yes, but he didn't exactly know what he was in for. One of my husband's old roommates told my children in joke form we were getting married because of Visas. My husband wanted his Visa to live in the US, and I wanted my husband's Visa to spend money. Yeah folks, it was presented as a joke but proven otherwise in proceeding comments. Good thing it went right over their heads. Just for the record, my husband got a work Visa it had nothing to do with marriage, his residency was in the works before we even met. As far as his Visa, I don't like credit cards. I've never even slid a credit card with his name through a slot to purchase anything. Nevertheless, I guess I'm tainted? Not good enough? Who said and when did I prove that? What stereotype have I lived up to? It's deniable by others but I know it's race.  It's the only thing you know of me before I speak. You see I'm called an African American by many, not just an American and the preconceived ideas pop into your mind. They do and you know they do. It works both ways. I admit when I see another person looking at me, I wonder if they will be nice or offend me. Will they say something racist? Are they accepting of me? It's a subtle bracing of yourself. It's sad but a way of life for me.  It's a learned behavior through years of experience. In fact we are taught to prepare ourselves for it at a young age.

I can't set blame on one set of people as a whole for the struggles we face. Everyone, every race, plays a part of it. Of course we'd all like to excuse ourselves from being titled as racist. It's natural to deny it and hide it. I'd be so boldly to say we have laws that provide holes to duck in from it. Until we are able to open our eyes to the harsh reality of another person's struggle we have caused due to our own issues with race, there will always be a problem. It's easy to excuse yourself from the words, actions and beliefs when you aren't directly affected. For example, the police officer, friends, delivery men, salesman, etc. have left me feeling unworthy, but aren't affected immediately by their own actions or words. They go off and live their lives, leaving me with words that question my worth of existence in society. Others may say I shouldn't let that bother me. Easier said than done folks, especially if you don't live in that reality. The crazy thing is when you live a life like this it builds up. People cry as I did last night, people lash out in anger, and people even kill. The pressure of a lifestyle when you are constantly viewed as less than has to release in some way. Prayerfully it's in a nonviolent way, because if you do get violent...as Dave Chappell said "Oh naw, don't do that, that's 5-10!"  In a recent case it was 20.

If you aren't in this reality of life, be respectful to others who are. Do not tell them how to feel. Offer compassion or words of encouragement. Don't pity them, make excuses, deny their reality or question their feelings when you haven't walked a mile in their shoes.

I love being outside but today I hesitate it. However God has NOT given us a spirit of fear... I declare I will live in peace.

 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Oooh I've seen her somewhere...

Hello All,
Just a quick post for now. So I was changing my printer cartridges today and I looked down to see this card....



I pick it up and look at the date to see if it was a past event. Doh! Yes. Go figure. The I glanced at the picture did a double take and thought, "I've seen her somewhere before. Ah ha!" I go over to the bookshelf and grab my book off the shelf....

This is why I don't like stock art folks. I'm a graphic designer and I try my best to stay away from stock art just for these purposes. If I can I will. If I can't or not allowed then I will stick with what my client wishes to have. So if you lend your face/body to stock art places this can happen. You can be the face of anything, or multiple things!


Mind your designs!