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The Fat Kid Nobody Wants to Play With…

The Fat Kid Nobody Wants to Play With…

First Monday in 2016. Do you have your gym membership, yet? Brushed off your workout gear? Started eating right? Stopped drinking after the 1st? Yeah, me neither.

I started before the new year. To be honest, I started a 5:30 am workout routine two weeks before 2015 concluded. Why?! I was tired of my clothes not fitting.  I’m not buying a new wardrobe (especially when I own classic pieces), and I had to realize I was depressed.

I had to finally sit down and figure out where the problem began.  I was heartbroken after losing my father, and for three months sat in the lower level of my sister’s house putting together a plan for my life, and eating.  I gained a few pounds, but I was still active with friends.  The positive thing that came from those ninety days was deciding to return to Virginia for an internship, and finish my last year of graduate school.

I maintained my weight through graduate school, and even connected with classmates that were quite active.  Even though I was active, it still wasn’t enough.  Two months after graduating I moved to Dallas for a job.  I was excited about the new start, and how everything came together for the opportunity.  Three months into the new position, I began to think, “what in the world did I sign up for?”

I was working crazy hours, filming for my own project (I began a doc studies program a month after graduating), and working with an illustrator for my children’s book.  I would eat, drink a glass of wine, and go to sleep.  That was my routine.  Even though I was pursuing my purpose, and passion I was extremely depressed at my current job.  I was surrounded by unhappy people, and it began to weigh heavily on me.  I saw a change in myself, and I didn’t like it.  It was hard to get out of bed in the morning, I wasn’t sleeping at night, and my clothes became tighter, and tighter.

I had to make a decision, will I stay or will I go?  I put together a plan to vacate my office by August 31.  God had a better plan.  I was a week away from “celebrating” being employed for a year in July, and I was called into the office.  I was given my walking papers, and how to apply for unemployment.  I was elated! I could focus on my purpose.  God did that!

Now, I’m sitting here thinking, “God did that for me, what can I do for myself?” I was still unhappy because my clothes were still tight.  Winter coats don’t fit, and my jeans are producing a muffin top! My mindset needed to shift.  My sister has been working with a trainer since April or May.  She’s down thirty pounds, and she looks GREAT! I want the same results.  I’m beginning week 3 with my trainer, and I’m ready to KILL IT!  I want everything that God has in store for me this year, and a healthier lifestyle will keep me energized to get there.  Happy New Year all, let’s crush it this year!

Building Momentum…Vision Work

Building Momentum…Vision Work

Yesterday I attended the 9:00 AM service at a new church. Organization…Organization…Organization. The pastor was talking to me! 🙋🏽

I’ll be honest I have my own system of organizing. It wasn’t until I started going through my dad’s old papers that I realized I have to get my stuff together. The vision will not work unless I build momentum, organize, and get to work!

The only reason the #SteeleThankful challenge worked last month was because I got organized after week 1. Then it began to flow. I had to write down my topics ahead of time in order to brainstorm what I wanted to write.

 

Blueprint for November’s challenge
 
I began the morning with detox tea and my new vision journal. If I want to have a powerful 2016 it must begin before the clock strikes midnight.

Day 30 – “Life” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 30 – “Life” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

The month of November truly flew on by.  Did you enjoy the challenge?  I sure did.  Being transparent is not easy, but I hope you learned more about the girl behind the lens and yourself.

I am the Queen amongst my friends when it comes to remembering  dates.  In my mind, dates are connected to life experiences.  Life is so valuable, so there’s some things about the journey you should never forget.

Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations, Weddings, Engagements, First Road Trip, Moving Day, are all blissful events but sometimes we focus on the dates that hurt us the most.  Why is that?

Life…We only get one!  How are we choosing to live this life?  I have a story.  You know I have a story.  Lol!

I looked in the mirror on March 2, 2010 after my accident, and thought God has given me another chance at life.  I’ve suffered 3rd degree burns to my hand, face, arm, and my hair is gone.  What am I going to do now?

My brother asked me on February 11, 2013, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”  I had spent all of my life to please my dad.  What was I going to do after he took his last breath?  My dad was ending his journey, but I still had a life to live.  What’s next?

On May 9, 2014, I looked in the crowd and saw two of my biggest cheerleaders waving and smiling during my graduate school commencement.  What will I do after today?

It wasn’t easy but I am here! On November 30, 2015, I’m looking fear in the face, and saying it’s ON.  I am able to drop my featured project a day early.  At a special introductory price on Cyber Monday, I present to you the first book in the Adventures of Alleykats series, “The Missing President!”

Your love and support through this journey has been amazing.  #SteeleThankful was my way of showing myself, and the world that you can be thankful for something outside of things.  You know the stuff without a price tag!  I can look at the featured photo, and think I could have been dead.  I was smiling weeks after being discharged from the hospital.  That picture is a reminder of why I am  “Steele Here!”

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Day 29 – “Choices” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 29 – “Choices” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of the challenge (insert sad face here). I chose to post everyday, and I’m happy about the outcome.

Now, I’m ready to talk about “Choices.”  You can choose your destiny.  I’m sure you’ve heard that, over, and over, and over again.  Our life’s journey is based upon the choices that we make.  One choice can change the course of your life forever.

Spending my summers in Virginia was a choice.  I either had to decide to stay in Michigan or go for what ended up being the last summer of the program that I was fortunate to be apart of for two summers in a row.  Without hesitation I made the right choice to be a leader that summer, and became apart of some unbelievable moments such as the one in the photo.

My last summer in Richmond, Virginia, the interns of the Museum of the Confederacy were able to tour the Lewis F. Powell Jr. United States Courthouse. It was pouring down raining but we pressed on!  The court is still being used today so cell phones were not allowed in the building and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t have my digital camera (Still kicking myself).  We were able to go through the entire courthouse including the office of President Jefferson Davis, the court room that President Davis trial took place, and the door and stairs that President Davis exited after the trial.

Yes, you read that correctly, I said trial.  At the end of the Civil War the President of the Confederacy was on trial in the courthouse where I am standing.  He exited these doors.  You know who else was tried here, Mr. Mike Vick, quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I know you’re probably wondering why am I mentioning these two men.  They were tried in this courthouse over 200 years apart.  It boils down to a choice.  A choice that they made landed them in this place, with someone else making a decision for them that would change the rest of their lives.

I’m not here to reflect on their choices, but I am here to tell you that it’s about a choice.  Our choices, both good and bad effect the course of our life’s journey.  We must also realize that we can be redeemed from our bad choices though.  What are you going to do with that second chance?  I’ve made some bad choices.  I’m sure we’ve all made some bad choices, but how are you going to change the negative into a positive?

You have the opportunity to begin again.  There will be people that will continue to judge you for your bad choices.  SO…WHAT!  Don’t allow them to decide your destiny.  You are in control! You have a choice to make.  As we close out the challenge I ask the same question at the end of my post, right?  Take advantage of your second chance, and continue to strive to make the BEST choice.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Day 28 – “Fear” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 28 – “Fear” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

F.E.A.R. = False Evidence Appearing Real

I was afraid.  Let me be honest, sometimes I’m still afraid of failing.  I guess that would be fear.  Anxiety can be a phase of fear too, right?

How can I eliminate fear?  I honestly don’t have an answer that works for every situation.  Try.  Try to believe that everything is going to be okay.

I was looking for a picture that would symbolize someone that overcame fear.  The picture I decided to use is myself inside of a replica box used to ship Henry “Box” Brown to freedom.  I’m sure Mr. Brown was fearful when he decided to get in a box and ship himself from Virginia to Pennsylvania.  Or was he?  The fear of living as a slave for the rest of his life may have overpowered the feeling of not surviving in that box on his way to freedom.  He had to try!  No matter how long it was going to take he still had to try!

That can be encouraging in itself.  If Henry “Box” Brown decided that he would die trying to get to freedom, what was my problem?  Why would you let fear keep you from completing a project, writing the first page in your book, accepting a public speaking engagement, traveling, or falling in love?

I know it may be scary, but you have to try!  Can I tell you something?  I was afraid to write my first blog post.  I was afraid to start this challenge, because I had to be transparent in some areas that I’ve never been before.  If I was afraid to do all of that was I afraid to succeed?  I guess I was afraid of no one reading the posts.  I honestly can’t worry about any of that.  I can say that I’ve tried.  I’ve tried to encourage someone, and ended up encouraging myself in the process too!  No what ifs left behind is the mindset going forward.  Bye Fear!

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

 

Day 27 – “Scholarship” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 27 – “Scholarship” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

I will challenge anyone to a mental math showdown! Seriously, I will. I’m sure my friends that were in Mrs. Gorman’s class at Boynton Montessori can too. We had no idea at the time why our teacher was keeping us inside during recess to do mental math. That information is still crucial today. The numbers don’t lie!

Amazing teachers truly touch your heart. I experienced scholarship at an early age, and it’s only because of the teachers that surrounded us with love. I can remember in the final 48 hours with my father, I was sitting outside of his room because I had a serious breakdown. I looked up and saw a familiar face coming down the hallway. It was my pre-school/kindergarten teacher. Her mom was in the room across the hall. I hadn’t seen her in over fifteen years, and in one of my lowest moments I saw her. God knows He will send you peace during the storm. My elementary teachers were simply the BEST!

Oh but Mrs. Powell, she…changed…my…life! She was such a rare jewel in high school. Mrs. Powell taught outside of the box, and made me fall in love with history all over again. U.S. History in the 10th grade was not solely about history. She taught the girls how to be ladies, and the guys learned how to be men. I can never repay her for helping me fall back in love with history. I knew then that history was not confined to a box!

Now, you know scholarship is not only for the school house, but you can begin implementing these practices from home? Build a relationship with your child’s teacher(s), and embrace teachable moments. You are your child’s first teacher!

God has truly placed some amazing educational role models in my path. Some of them were teachers, professors, administrators, staff members and classmates. I am a better person because they cared! I’m ‪#‎SteeleThankful‬ for those that modeled leadership and scholarship!

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Day 26 – “Foundation” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 26 – “Foundation” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

No Days Off! Dad didn’t believe in turning down overtime, and Mom never calls out sick. I guess it’s the “baby boomers” work ethic that’s in them. 

I would say that my foundation was solid.  It was displayed that hard work produces results. As I stated before my dad never denied overtime, and even after he retired at the ripe age of 49 he still kept busy. 

After my dad retired he owned rental properties, and wrote out a to-do list every evening for his activities the next day. He would write them down in a memo book, and place it in his shirt pocket. I told my mom to look through the purple one that my sister had and landed on this page. He would always say, “oh you’re bored, there’s always something to do.” He ALWAYS had something to do. 

My parents laid the foundation for hardwork. I’m #SteeleThankful for my parents work ethic. They sacrificed early on to secure a solid future for us. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

Day 24 – “Prayers” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 24 – “Prayers” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

“Someone was praying for me.”  I would hear that quote often when I was growing up.  I believe it.  My first blog post was about being a rebellious nerd, and I know stored prayers put me back on the right path.  My mom said that she began praying for all her children while in the womb.  She said that her strength came from stored prayers from her grandmothers.  So, I come from generations of prayer warriors!

Mary M. was my granny.  I was her birthday gift one year, coming just one day after her birthday (January 17).  We stuck together like glue.  She was a nurturer, homemaker, and a quiet spirit that loved to cheat when we played board games, but she would play with me.  The only one that would play Memory, Sorry, Game of Life, and Hungry Hippos.  She would lock down the big house to walk me to the corner store, and let me sing in the fan on the porch.

All that changed when I was about eleven years old.  She was in and out of the hospital.  The cancer returned, and it was far more aggressive than before.  I can remember being in the big house on Main Street.  It would be a house full, at this time I had no idea how sick she really was.  She would walk from her room to the living room where everyone was gathered, and sit in the chair by the window.  She would hold her head down with her hands resting on her head.  I would ask her if she was okay, and she would look up, give me a smile and nod.  She was praying.

She was praying for her children, her grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  The nucleus of the family knew that it was only a matter of time, and she wanted her family to be protected.

I’m #SteeleThankful for those prayers that have kept me, and for those prayers that cover me.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

 

Day 23 – “Relationships” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 23 – “Relationships” #SteeleThankful Challenge (30 Days of Thanks)

Stop!  This post is not about romantic relationships.  We can have work relationships, right?  I’m not sure about those, “situationships” that the rapper Fabolous was talking about.  Or, maybe I do.  I’ve honestly experienced that too.  Those moments when you aren’t able to identify what you truly are but you can say that there’s something there.

Every relationship serves a purpose.  You may not agree with the outcome, but they did serve a purpose.  I believe you are to learn something from every relationship that forms.  I learned so much from the relationships that I formed in Richmond, Virginia (featured image).  The summers that I spent working with Ms. Teresa Roane, Mr. Eric Richardson, Sgt. Major Haynes, and Mr. Ed Lee were some of the best times of my life.  Those summers made me a scholar in my field of study.  I can never thank them enough!

The relationships that blossomed from being cubicle buddies, classmates, and neighbors.  Some of those people are like family now.  Relationships that first began with:

“Good Morning!”

“How’s it going?”

“Girl did you finish your paper?”

“Hey did you figure out your research topic?”

 

Our paths still cross and I’m happy to say that they are doing some pretty incredible work in their fields.  From working in Dubai, Cornell University, recently married with job promotions, and Ph.D programs.  I’m #SteeleThankful for genuine relationships.  The relationships that can truly last a lifetime.

What are you #SteeleThankful for?

 

 

 

Day 22 – “Connections” #SteeleThankful (30 Days of Thanks)

Day 22 – “Connections” #SteeleThankful (30 Days of Thanks)

I don’t like bridges. Well, let me take that back. If they have water under them I’m trying to get over them immediately. Even though they are used as a connection. That bridge is connecting me to something. Without them I’m not sure how I would get to the other side. Unless we decide to burn them. So, I guess they are rather important. 
On my many road trips I always get excited when I cross over into a new state. For example heading from Illinois to Tennessee, there’s a huge bridge. I remember the first time I thought oh shoot here we go a large bridge with a body of water under it. I look up and there’s a huge, “Welcome to Tennessee” sign at the top of the bridge. That was my motivation to get over it. I knew the bridge was my connection. I had to keep going. 
Relationships or Partnerships can be similar to a bridge as well. A connection to another person, place, or thing. You’ve probably heard me say this before but I’ve connected with some amazing people. Well, I’ve been connected with some “bad signal/no wifi available” people too. Oh, that just means the connection wasn’t strong enough. No hard feelings!
One person in particular stands out to me. She is the master of connection, in my opinion anyways. When I moved to Houston, TX I knew a couple of people from my hometown, but I connected with a young lady during my short stay in Dallas. I found her through a Google search when I was looking for a place to get my eyebrows done. I saw this place called, “Eyebrow Energy,” the reviews were great and I decided to give it a try. 
I reconnected with Kim when I arrived in Houston, because she too had relocated from Dallas to Houston. This Houston excursion was risky especially being a single woman at the time. My living conditions were not favorable. She offered that I move into her place since she had a spare bedroom. I had cashed out my CD, and truly depended on faith. God reconnected me with her. Being a budding business owner she was connected with some of the elite in Houston. She introduced me to some pretty cool people that I’m still in contact with today. One of them being her sister (Kendra from yesterday’s post).
You see when I arrived to Houston I was pursuing a connection, a bridge that eventually had to be burned. God built a new bridge that connected me with Kim, and I must say the rest is history. 
Are we connected to things that exude positive or negative energy? Why are we connected to it? Is it time to burn the bridge? Even though sometimes it is uncomfortable to cross a bridge over water, just think about what could be on the other side. 
What are you #SteeleThankful for?