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New Beginnings

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????  As we have finally reached the new year, you already know what comes with the territory. New Year’s resolutions, including work out goals and a hope to be a better person. What usually follows is the breaking of those resolutions before the close of January. What I propose is something simple- creating a Don’t Bring list. Here are some things you should not bring into the new year if you want a clean slate and a fresh start.

1. Debt- I’m not talking 10Gs in student loans. I’m talking about paying off credit card bills, medical bills, or anything under a grand. Handle that. Whether you set up a payment plan or something. Don’t carry old bills or overdue bills into the new year.

2. Men’s Skinny Jeans- Granted, these shouldn’t have even been made in the first place, but they definitely should not be brought back this year for an encore.

3. Negativity from 2014- Why are you still carrying this baggage? Let it go. If you haven’t dealt with it before, why continue to hang on to it now?

4. Frenemies- Why continue to play nice or pretend to like someone you clearly do not? That just creates negativity, unnecessary drama, and clutter. Stop it and move on.

5. The phrase “turnt up” or any variation- This phase sickens me and needs to be put down for good. Please don’t let it seep into 2015!

6. Using children as pawns- Whether it’s to get back at or with someone, or to punish the child. Let us not forget that children are gifts and were not asked to be created. This past year, so many children made the news because their parent(s) left them unattended in the car, burned them, mutilated them, and so on for whatever so-called reason. These “parents” should’ve considered preventing pregnancy if they were going to ultimately hurt their child(ren). Let’s let 2015 be the year of loving our children or simply not having them if you think you’ll abuse them.

I wish you nothing but the best and truly believe that this is YOUR year. Take care of yourself and your family. Much love and many blessings for 2015!

All Things Must Come to an End

NY  We have only a few days left of 2013. Some people have been planning for the 31st since January or may have started last week. This day is a big deal. Who you spend it with is just as important as what you do. When I was younger, staying in a night, especially the weekend, was not an option. As I have aged, the tables have definitely turned, since sitting on the couch with a small amount of people around me is my preference- even on weekends. So why should New Year’s be any different? Here are some cheaper and safer ways to spend New Year’s Eve (and remember what you did the next morning).

1. Couch love- There is nothing wrong with curling up on the couch, having a movie marathon and watching the ball drop at midnight. You are in the house; safe from drunk drivers and you are within your own four walls. You can’t beat that! If you can’t sit still on the couch, play a game with your family or make something together. The great thing about this suggestion is that you can feel free to be in your pajamas and curlers… all day long!

2. Reflection- Take the time to reflect on your year. What worked, what didn’t, what you would like to change (add or delete). With a new year comes a brand new start. This is the time to focus on making improvements and setting goals, but also, try not to overwhelm yourself so that you’re not setting yourself up for failure. Take one or two goals, set a timeline, and see it through completely. You will feel a lot more successful if you completed a goal versus having six incomplete goals on your plate.

I recently read an article in the Huffington Post about creating New Year’s themes, instead of resolutions. For instance, if you want to eat better and cook more, your goal would be ‘Nourish.’ If you want to try new places, travel, and do something spontaneous, your goal would be ‘Adventure.’ You get the picture. It’s worth a try.

3. House party- Similar to number one, post up at your own house, a friend’s house, or a family member’s house. You are with people you love and somewhere safe (hopefully). If you are not at your own home, please wait to leave after 12:30 or so. Give the crazies enough time for them to drive all over the road and for you and your loved ones to get home safely.

How are you spending your New Year’s Eve?

Giving Love

present  This is probably one of my favorite months of the year. My birthday, family and friends gathering, and Christmas all wrapped in a bow. The snow sucks, but other than that, it’s a great time of year and closer to ringing in a new one.

Each family celebrates Christmas and Christmas Eve differently. I’d just like to share some of those Christmas Eve traditions. Feel free to add your own.

+ Open one gift

+ Make homemade gifts and present them

+ Family dinner and swap family stories

+ Twist in dinner menu- instead of turkey or ham, have steak or Chinese

+ Go to church

+ Make something together as a family (ex. cookies, pie, gingerbread houses)

+ Have a movie marathon (Christmas or family theme)

+ Do some charity work

This is a time for family and giving. Make sure you are “giving love at Christmas,” to quote the Temptations. Enjoy your holiday. Give from the heart. Be safe and be merry.

Actin Brand New

bubbly   It’s the beginning of a brand new year. If you’re like me, you’ve been thinking, “2013- that’s going to be MY year.” New beginnings, fresh start, clean slate. When you think of January 1st, we automatically start thinking of a list of resolutions that we know full well that aren’t gonna make it past January. So what can we do instead? Instead develop short term and long term goals and maybe even a timeline to help you help yourself. {If you literally moaned and groaned about me asking you to do “too much work,” read this article to its entirety first and then decide your fate:)}

 

What is the point of all this?

The point is to shoot for something. To give yourself direction and purpose. Nobody wants to feel defeated or to walk around and not have a purpose. There’s no better feeling than feeling like you’ve achieved something. A lot of times when we make New Year’s resolutions, we do it verbally. But with goals, these need to be written down and followed step by step. Last year, I wrote a blog about vision boards. These are very much acceptable too. Anything to get your mind and body moving towards success.

 Aren’t goals just like resolutions?

Yes and no. Goals can be things that you want to change or improve, but they are also there to hold you accountable. Accountability is so important. That’s your motivation. You put it in writing, so now you have to back it up. Resolutions, on the other hand, can be broken and forgotten within two weeks.

What am I supposed to do with these goals?

Write them out. Be specific as possible but don’t have too many. Too many goals are just like too many rules in the classroom- overwhelming. Create two or three goals and write out measurable steps to get there. Imagine what it would look like if you accomplished your goals and work backwards, if that helps. After you have written out your goals, you need to display them somewhere; somewhere where you can see them all the time. I recently read somewhere that if other people see what you’re working towards, they might hold you accountable too and maybe even check in every now and then to see if you are still on track.

What do you mean by timeline?

Draw up a timeline of when you want your goals met. For short term goals, maybe goal one can be achieved in three months. After that is out of the way, maybe you can write in goal two for the following month, and so on. For long term goals, you could perhaps make a One Year, Five Year, Ten Year spreadsheet instead. Either way, your timeline needs to be visible so that you can see if you’re on track.

Ladies and gentlemen, just look at this as a blueprint of your future and take it from there. You can’t complain about not getting what you want if you sit back and wait for it to come your way. Sometimes you just gotta go out there and get it yourself. Good luck!

Diamonds and Pearls

  Can a person really have it all? When I say “all”, I mean love, job, money, family, friends, and happiness. Absolutely not. One of those categories will be lacking at some point or another. Whether you have the perfect job and single, friends and family with no money, you get the picture.

Now before you go on saying that I am a pessimistic, I would like you to fully read this article and realize that I am instead a realist. Just telling it like it is.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to point out something to you first and foremost. Just because a person is rich, does not make them happy.  Think about it, a lot of these mega million lottery winners get stressed out dealing with all that money and can’t handle it. Some of these mega million stars have all kinds of depression too. Having money does not make a person immune to problems and it certainly doesn’t hold you tight at night.

Also, just because a person has friends and family does not mean that they could never feel lonely or unhappy. There’s a big difference between being alone and feeling alone. You could have twenty close friends that live within a ten mile radius, but if you feel lonely, that wouldn’t make a bit of difference. You can have all the loving people surrounding you in the world and still not be happy.

Or, what if you have the perfect job? You absolutely love your job and love what you’re doing. Wouldn’t everything else fall into place? Not necessarily. Even the perfect job has its perks and downfalls, but even so, that does not guarantee that you would be happy with every other aspect of your life (for example, your home life dulls in comparison to your work life).

I guess the bottom line is to find a happy medium. Do whatever makes you happy first, and then everything else might fall into place. That’s my challenge to you and to myself. Good luck!

Spring Cleaning

  Summer begins around this time next week, but are you truly ready for it? Spring cleaning goes beyond your typical cleaning routine (ex. cleaning out your closet, donating your unused items, cleaning your house, etc.), it also includes cleansing yourself in general.

When I speak of “cleansing yourself”, I mean cleansing your life, body, and soul. Are you holding on to something or someone that you know you shouldn’t? An ex, a jerk you’re dating, baggage, regret, shame? It’s time to move on and cleanse. When you hold onto all of these negative thoughts, emotions, and situations, that effects your health, social life, and your overall happiness. Below are a few ways to cleanse yourself. Even if you are currently drama free, you can still enhance your well-being by engaging in a couple of these here and there.

1. Exercise- self-explanatory.

2. Meditation- for the people who actually know how to be quiet and be by themselves for a minute.

3. Pray- you can overcome any and everything with God on your side. The words ‘stressed’ and ‘blessed’ don’t go together, so which one are you?

4. Massage- full body, back, or even just feet, it doesn’t matter. All are extremely relaxing and once you learn how to really relax, you can zone out your troubles.

5. Communication- find someone to talk to or talk it out with the person who actually caused your stress. But here’s the thing…don’t dwell on it! If you are going through a break up, for example, your ex should not be the sole topic of conversation for two months straight. Get A Life!

6. Facial, pedicure, or a makeover- also self-explanatory.

7. Get rid of the stress makers and steer clear of them for good (ex. If you dump someone, don’t keep going back and keeping in contact with them. How do you expect to move on?).

8. Bubble bath- you can even jazz it up with some scented candles and soft music. Just soaking is so relaxing, and much like a massage, your mind can wander to another place more soothing.

9. Wine- not a bottle, but a glass to unwind.

10. A comedy movie- laughing is healthy for you and can turn your whole day around. Next time you’re in a bad mood, pop in Harlem Nights and then see how you feel afterwards. I guarantee that you won’t be thinking about ol’ what’s-his-face.

11. Changing your hair style or even just adding some color could brighten up your day.

12. Retail therapy- shopping for a new wardrobe can just as easily lift your spirits.

What are some ways you like to cleanse?

Children First

If you are not a parent, never worked with children, or have never stepped foot into someone’s classroom other than your own, you may not fully understand where I’m coming from with this. I want you to picture these four children.

Child One: An eighth grade girl who got beat with a metal baseball bat minutes before being taken to school. She wore bruises on her right arm and leg.

Child Two: A third grader who had been infected with lice several times each year but has now upgraded to fleas flying around her.

Child Three: A fifth grade student who ran away from school down a two-lane street, and then ran away from home the next morning.

Child Four: Another eighth grade student who wanted to bleach her skin in order to look pretty.

What do these girls all have in common? Lack of love and attention from home (some do have much more serious problems). You can’t really understand a child until you meet their family. These kids today are totally different from when I was growing up. Back then, a phone call home was a certified whoopin when you got home and you straightened right up. There were consequences and the teachers weren’t expected to raise their children for them.

News Flash: We’re dealing with a different breed, ladies and gentlemen. Not only are the children different, but so are the parents. We’ve past the “Babies having babies” stage. We’ve now reached the “Infants having babies” stage. Any time where twelve year olds are having children, there’s a problem. These parents are either too young or too old to be handling these children. These children have no fear. They have no trust. They have no support where they need it most; their parents. The children that I mentioned earlier are a part of true scenarios. I’ve been a School Social Worker for over seven years and I have seen many things. Things that make me jump for joy, shake my head, or even drink. If you don’t get anything out of this blog, then I want you to get this- children are meant to be loved, supported, and protected, and if you can’t provide that, then don’t have them.

Many of the issues that school professionals have to deal with are behavior problems, and many times, on top of academic problems. And what’s the underlying issue for about ninety percent of those problems- lack of attention, or shall I say appropriate or positive attention. Some examples of this type of behavior are: making noises, running away, cutting, tantrums, being overly dependent, etc. Somewhere there is a disconnect- children aren’t learning the appropriate ways to behave or to problem-solve, and often they are neglected when it comes to support, guidance, and discipline. Whether they admit or not, children need rules and structure, and if that’s missing, there’s gonna be a problem.

I feel sorry for these children who feel the need to go through drastic channels in order to spark someone’s, anyone’s, attention. And usually by the time the parents try to get a handle on the acting out behaviors, it’s too late. The children move on to getting whatever attention (positive or negative) they can get from anyone who will give it. It’s time to step up and protect our children. Hug them. Talk to them. Show them that you love them and care before it’s too late and they end up on a show like Criminal Minds. I had a student almost in tears and begging for me to talk to her earlier; “Just five minutes”. There are so many others like her who are crying out for help, verbally and nonverbally. Let’s please nourish our babies with food, love, support, and attention.