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Celebrate the Gift of Life…

Celebrate the Gift of Life…

It’s been a rough week.  I wasn’t feeling too great last week.  I will say that I am done with Saltine Crackers, Soup, and Ginger Ale.  No, seriously, I don’t want to see it for awhile.  I fell victim to the Midwest weather, and I got caught slippin(g). I knew better.

Anyways…I feel better.

I’m in New Orleans for a work, and pleasure.  I mean hello, it’s New Orleans, and definitely going to participate in a Secondline!

I’m sure I’ve told you before about my circle of friends that God blessed me with.  I am surrounded by friends that have been in my life since 1987, 1990, and 1996.  Crazy!  Two of them have birthdays that are a day apart.  Double Celebration!!!

I converse with my friends almost daily, and it’s always nonstop laughter.  We keep each other motivated through this journey called life.

Birthdays have always been extra special, and one of the birthday girls decided to do a countdown of throwback pictures for the last 30+ days leading up to her birthday.

I learned something very special about that.  Celebrate the gift of life and memories everyday.  I love the new feature of Facebook reminding me (or us) of our memories since we’ve been on Facebook.  The great thing about my friend is that she went through her personal archive of photos, and is dedicated to celebrating the years of her life with family and friends.

Celebrate you!  Even if no one else will.  You only get one life, and you better live everyday to the best of your ability.

Hats off to the birthday girls, and cheers to celebrating life not just on our birthdays, but 365 (or 366) days of the year!

Xoxo,

R.J.

Celebrating a BONUS 24 hours: I Shall Leap…

Celebrating a BONUS 24 hours: I Shall Leap…

The plan was to spend this Leap Day lounging all day after the week/weekend I’ve had.  Well, that’s not happening.

My alarm was not set for my 5:30 am workout session, and guess who woke up at 4:45.  **points to self**  I said my plan must align with God’s plan.  A question dropped in my spirit almost immediately after waking up.  “How bad do you want it?”  Honestly that question applies to a lot of things in my life right now.  Jumped up, took a shower, got dressed, and put in the work!

I’ve told you before that there’s a lesson in everything.  We choose to identify or ignore it.  Two of my oldest friends (Seriously over 25 years of friendship, preschool and 1st grade) held community events on Saturday in my hometown of Benton Harbor, Michigan.  I split my time between both events, and I must say I am without a doubt overjoyed that I was able to attend both.

While they were both running around last week finalizing things for their events, I was given the task of presenting a video for the Boys and Girls Club of America’s Benton Harbor Teen Center.  Can I be honest?  I was nervous.  I mean I can take constructive criticism, but it’s nothing like being judged by the community that raised you.  I was now apart of a team that was driven to produce an amazing event, and I didn’t want to let them down.

The pressure was on.  The morning of the event the video would not transfer from my editing software to a MP4.  I became frustrated because I was having the same problem on Thursday and Friday, audio issues etc.  I finally said, “God, I’m believing this is going to work out for this event tonight.”  I calmed down.  Arrived at the venue spoke with the tech team, and was informed that the video must be converted.  I went to the corner, and tried ONE…MORE…TIME!

BOOM!

It worked.  I saved the file and headed back to the tech team for setup.  I ran to the back of the building and came back to the main stage to witness the person that believed in me was watching the video.  At the conclusion of the video, he turned around and reminded me why I should have never doubted that it would work.

Teamwork makes the DREAM WORK.

I can be quite critical of myself sometimes.  Okay, a lot of times.  I will find something to correct when I know it’s fine.  That perfectionist zone I was in was going to keep me in a box.  When you think like a perfectionist nothing seems good enough.  That can be a dangerous zone.  It can keep you from moving on to the next level.  The zone can also come off as fear, we call it perfectionism because we aren’t ready for the criticism from our peers or the public.

Guess what?

That fear will keep you from receiving valuable feedback and hinders growth.  I don’t ever want to be in a place where I’m keeping myself from growing.

Three things I was reminded of this weekend:

  1.  Continue to surround yourself with positive people that are seeking to change the world.
    JB and Damita - Friends for over 25 years. Game Changers in the community
    JB and Damita – Friends for over 25 years. Game Changers in the community

     

     

  2. The importance of a tribe.  When people believe in your greatness, believe them.
  3. Take the first step.  Do something scary and outside of the box.  It creates growth.

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Yo Birthday Is Not About YOU! When someone special forgets your birthday…

Yo Birthday Is Not About YOU! When someone special forgets your birthday…

**Singing** back down memory lane…

I love old photos and music.  You can catch me at any time snapping pics, and listening (and singing) to music.  The featured photo today is from my 25th birthday.  You know your 25th birthday can go up there with your 18th, 21st, and 30th birthday.  I could rent a car by myself, and my car insurance premium decreased.  #Winning

My birthdays have always been extra special.  I have the gift of remembering others birthdays and being more excited for them than for my own.  Insert **YASSSSS, TURN UP, LET’S GRAB DRINKS & BAR HOP!**  I love celebrating birthdays, because it gives us another opportunity to be great.

What happens when someone special forgets your birthday?  You’re crushed, right?  I know when people used to forget my birthday I would be all in my little feelings.  Who am I kidding, I still feel some type of way when certain people forget.  I used to think well I remembered their birthday, they should remember my birthday!  I was tired of one person forgetting my birthday after I turned eighteen.  So, I decided to speak up about it.  No more calling my sister or mother to remind them that it was my birthday.

I began writing my birthday on my dad’s calendar.  This huge calendar hung in the kitchen, and it also served as his appointment reminders.   I said he’ll remember this year I tell ya!  I’m writing in big purple letters!  HE FORGOT AGAIN!

One day I decided to ask my dad why was it so hard to remember my birthday.  I was born a day after his mother.  It should be the easiest to remember!  In a calm voice I finally received an answer, one that I didn’t expect.  “When granny died, I tried to forget everything that was attached to her, including her birthday.  You never notice that my appointments are heavy in January. ”  I was speechless.  I identified my dad’s way of grieving.  To shield his hurt he became busy.  It made perfect sense.  On holidays such as Mother’s Day or Memorial Day he became unavailable.  Too busy to do anything.  On that day I realized my birthday was no longer about me anymore it was about others.

I adopted the practice of celebrating my birthday alone or with others, either way I was going to celebrate life.  For those that reached out to me on my birthday I always wanted them to know how special I felt for even remembering, and offer some encouragement.  Yes, offer a little love to them on your day.  It’s not that hard!  My birthday is not solely about me.  I had to remember there are some grieving people out there, and it was selfish of me to be upset with anyone about forgetting my birthday.  Especially when there are others waiting to celebrate the gift of life.

Your birthday is a gift from God.  Celebrate the possibility of becoming a better you, and share a little love to others in the process.