Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Caution! This is contagious...

There are few sounds as pleasing as a child laughing... Audio clip>I love my son's laughter! by shesonhersoapbox on SoundCloud

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I hope everyone is enjoying December. Hopefully we are all keeping things in perspective. I think I've wrote in the past about how I am not a fan of the materialist commercial circus that Christmas has become. Nonetheless, it has again been restored one of my favorite times of the year. I have been able to spend loads of time with my family.

While everyone else is going for broke at the mall, we have been hanging out and focusing on our mutual interests. While everyone else is decked out in red in green we are still decked out in gold and green. Here a a few fun pictures I took last night :)

Here's to happy times for you and your loved one's during the rest of 2012!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Letter to My Children's Teachers

I just penned this letter and sent it to the educators my children are blessed to work with this year. I hope that many of you are fortunate to have teachers in the lives of their children who are dedicated and motivated to ensure their success.

In light of the mass slaying of the children and teachers in Connecticut, I know most of us have talked with, consoled, and comforted our children. I just felt it was important to reach out to their teachers as well. I encourage you to do the same if you have great teachers working with your children.

Dear Educators,

My husband Richard and I just wanted to send a quick note of thanks to you all this weekend. The tragic events that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut still have me very emotional, as well some of you may be. I cannot tell you how often I proudly proclaim what a wonderful group of teachers Richard, Wesley, and Ian have this year! Our boys are happy and motivated to do well, and so much of that has to do with the connections they have made with you. 

As a parent, it is difficult to send your child into the care of others for such a large part of the day. You hope and trust that they are around teachers who entered the educational field for the love of learning and the love of children. It seems to me they all have come across dedicated individuals who feel that way. We have been able to sit and talk to all of you (with the exception of Mr. D whom we hope to meet before Christmas break!). The things you have said to us about our kids made us proud.

I just wanted to say thank you. Your unions are under attack. The failings of a broken educational system lie unfairly on your shoulders. You're not paid nearly enough for the work you do. Parents blame you for the failings of their children and don't support you they way they should. But we want you to know, that you have allies in Richard and Tarrah Xxxx. You have our full support and appreciation for everything you do.

Prayers that your upcoming Winter Break is restful and filled with family and fun. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need anything. If it's something we can assist with, we will gladly do it.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Southern Style Thankfest

Hello! I hope all is well with you. The holiday season can be a real struggle for people. Those of us who live in daylight savings zones experience darkness by as early as 5pm. October through January is packed full of holidays. It's a busy stressful time for many people and I am seeing and hearing a lot of chatter about those who are struggling with depression.

My hope for those of you who are reading this is that you are happy and in good health. I send you well wishes, good thoughts, love, and prayer xox. To those of us who are happy...let's share the joy! One genuine connection at a time, let's spread some love. I truly believe reaching out to others gives encouragement, motivation, and hopefully inspiration. It's certainly helped me in the past. It's the very least I can do for someone else.

I'd like to share my holiday experience with you. I had the pleasure of traveling out of state with my family. My sister's family recently relocated to Tennessee. I guess I have driven through there a time or two, but I never actually visited. Let me just say, TN is God's country. We were nestled in the Smokey Mountains and were greeted with some very beautiful scenery.

I awoke on Thanksgiving morning to see a lovely doe weaving in and out of the trees just outside of the breakfast nook. I felt like one of my favorite childhood princesses with all of the forest critters outside dropping by to say hello :) Disclosure: I am no mountaineer or nature girl by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, I like a good nature trail. But I, like many other "lovers of the outdoors" am of the opinion it is best enjoyed from the comfort of a patio. Preferably with a tasty adult beverage in hand.

At any rate with the exception of playing sous chef, I didn't do any cooking. Being that I have cooked and hosted Thanksgiving dinner at my house every year since 2001 it was very strange. Try as I might to assist, my sister handled the dinner. And I might add she did a marvelous job! It was one of the best home-cooked meals I have had in recent history.

I am so happy for my sister, brother in law, and their kids. They have worked very hard to establish their careers. They absolutely deserve all that they have worked for. It's time for them to start enjoying the fruit of their labor. They have a ginormous home, sprawling property, adorable smart children, and successful careers. But most importantly, what they have is humility. I don't personally know anyone else who could have obtained what they have, and not changed one iota.

To say that the red carpet was rolled out for my family was an understatement. We were made to feel like family, and esteemed guests at the same time. I have seen quotes about how money and success doesn't change you. It just brings out who you are. I think we all know someone who gets a raise or upgrades some area of their life and they are no longer the same person who you used to associate with. I know people who do very well in life. I am friends with several upper middle class families. The one's that I associate with are generally very nice and pleasant people. But to see people who are so close to me transition from working class to wealthy and remain the same grounded humble personable people that I have always know was nothing short of inspiring. 

I know that their kids will grow up with good heads on their shoulders, and minds to make the world a better place. I am happy that my children have sound examples of what is possible to achieve. I don't know that my husband and I will ever be wealthy. We have goals, and we are trying to build a legacy. I am very happy with the course we are on, and the life we are building (financial stability and a decent retirement). My kids have a father who they witness working hard to take care of his family. They have a mother who is dedicated to making sure they will have a concrete plan to go in whatever direction they choose to pursue. I think that's a great foundation to start out with. But they also have examples in their aunt and uncle that illustrate that you can pull yourself up by the bootstraps become a great success and stay true to yourself. 

I will leave you with some of my favorite pictures to enjoy of our trip. Enjoy! 

Friday, November 16, 2012


     I woke up with a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart. It's time to celebrate my darling son's birthday. I decided that I would not fall prey to my usual self defeating tactics. No dread that he is growing up and needing me less. It's been a fight throughout the day let me tell you. A trip to the store to gather last minute items for his birthday was slothful to put it nicely. I had to give myself a personal pep talk. I had to remind myself of the gift I received in a child who is full of light and love.

     Have you ever looked at your child and felt almost unworthy to be the one entrusted to care for them? The life lessons I have encountered in raising an "old soul", who sometimes I think, knows more than me are imeasureable. All I know is that I am thankful that he was placed in my life. This son whose name literally means "Gift from God" has turned out to be just that.

    On this day we celebrate him. I make it my goal to go the extra mile so that he knows he is loved. I do that not with food, nor with presents... not with jokes or games. I do it with a heart wide open, and spirit led corresponding actions that I trust meet him at his point of need. A lesson so simple and so complex. A lesson I have ironically learned from him...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Oooh 'Bama

He's done it again. Four more years. As a person who has typically trended conservative in my political views I must say I was nervous, but not for obvious reasons. You see the foundations of my political ideology have been small government, limited intrusion, and fiscal responsibility. So many elections after my first vote was cast, either party truly espouses those principles. Add to that the great swing state in which I am from worked very very very very hard to keep what amounts to minority/poor/liberal suppression.

Would a reasonable person support an administration that is actively doing everything in their power to suppress their vote? I think not! Not to mention what was originally considered conservative has changed deeply over the last 10-15 years. I refuse to affiliate myself with the neo-con movement. It does not at all reflect who I am or what I stand for. IN NO WAY do I mean to suggest that the entire right wing is racist. But I will say as a whole they have been very myopic in their views and whom their policies effect. It is time to reevaluate that stance.

I was nothing short of relieved when the announcement was made that President would maintain his office. You see, although I do not personally agree with everything the liberal agenda represents. I feel much more included and accepted by them. I think election 2012 taught me an important lesson. DIVERSITY MATTERS!

We saw some historic firsts that took place during this election. The tide has changed. The right wing has been served notice. They will have to find means to be more inclusive of others, and find common ground and common values with other American's in order to remain relevant. 

Today I was able to wake up and confirm to my children Barack Obama's election was not a fluke. I was able to say, "Ok it's official, you REALLY can be whatever and whomever you want to be." There has been a fundamental psychological and philosophical shift in the way that minorities as an all inclusive group think of themselves. We as women, ethnic minorities, etc... have decided that we are not going to wait to be given an assigned place in American society. We are going to carve out our own place so move over and get out of the way! I hope and pray that the value of our self worth continues to grow.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's time!

Kick off for the indoor season. My whole family here with me. I couldn't be happier.

UPDATE: We won 8 to 3!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The vibrant red leaf drifts delicately to the ground like so many that have gone before it. It falls amongst the others that are in their varying stages of decay. It is but a reminder that death and dormancy of this season continues to approach.

Yet, somewhere else in the world there are signs of spring. Flowers bud and blossom. Life is springing forth. Rays of sunlight prolong each day just a little more...

Such is life. Some of us are winding down. Whilst others still are just beginning. Where are you in life right now? I sit here exhausted yet satisfied. I have turned over a new leaf, and began a new season. I smile at the changes I see. I stare in wonder of the magnificent changes that take place around me. Wherever you are in your life.... find the beauty. This is your season.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Audio clip» Who Can Read In This Environment? by shesonhersoapbox on SoundCloud
I swear to Pete I am 20 feet from the coffee counter. My chatty barista must have no one to talk to at home. She talks nonstop to anyone who passes by! Shhhhh

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I will rise... above what I WANT to do, in order to do what is best
I will rise... above what I ESTEEM, to operate in what is right
I will rise... above SELFISH ambitions for the good of others

I will rise... above PAIN in pursuit of peace
I will rise... above CONFUSION in hopes of enlightenment
I will rise... above DISAPPOINTMENT in expectation of contentment 
I will rise... above DISSATISFACTION on a quest for fulfillment

I have decided that I will rise to the occasion in the midst of life's difficult situations...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Crash

As far as the east is from the west, is how great my love is for you...

HOPE was travling south bound, as LOVE traveled east. There appears to have been a malfunction with the signaling device. HOPE and LOVE collide. There sat LOVE, a mangled wreck. HOPE sped away.

What does LOVE do when HOPE is gone?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Staring at the Sky

Sometimes I sit and stare at the sky, and take comfort in the fact that we share the same sun rays and moon beams...

Monday, September 10, 2012

I finally had a chance to upload pictures off my camera. Life has been very hectic. But I will not twist my lips to complain. In going through the pics I noticed this one. And it just spoke to me. This photo is completely untouched.

Let me tell you that the small business that my husband and I started less than 2 years ago has tripled in size. Then take a minute to look at the picture. Specifically the glorious magnificent clouds and light shining down upon us. It makes you think doesn't it?

A is for Awkward

That awkward moment when you're in church praying and a stranger comes in and blows a ram errr is that a jackalope horn....

I couldn't make this up.... *blank stare
I am a church girl tried and true. I was born to a Pentecostal minister turned pastor. I have seen a lot of things go on in the pews. THIS is a first.  Christian brothers and sisters I do declare, it is time for an intervention. The trend towards acting deep is transitioning into acting flat out bizarre! It is not our rituals that make us "deep". Please quit pouring through the Old Testament looking for the most asinine Judaic traditions and taking them on a test drive.

I spend most of my time trying to apply what I know to my life. Some of the main biblical principals I live my life by are:

  1. Move in love. That was Jesus' final commandment before The Ascension. It's not an option or a suggestion.
  2. The actual deeper meanings in the Bible often come from the underlying concept that is being portrayed, and not necessarily the action itself. Don't make a doctrine out of everything you read a biblical figure did.
  3. Worship is a lifestyle not an event. I believe our entire existence has been fashioned to glorify God. 
There are so many other things I could say here. But I don't want to get sidetracked from my main point. It's time to get back to the very basics in Christian living. There is no new gig that makes you a deeper "child of God" than anyone else. People may have different positions in the church, but no one is more important. The Bible teaches us that there are many members of one body. Everyone has a function, and it is important. I have learned that God is no respecter of persons. So don't be fooled or impressed by the religious tomfoolery that you see circulating through today's congregations.

Friday, September 7, 2012

2 thumbs

(Audio Clip -->)  2 thumbs

My darling boy's growth spurts are spiraling out of control. In just the last month he's gained another half inch in height and don't even get me started on his shoe size. He told me this morning he needs more shirts. Shopaholic that I am, I was more than happy to oblige setting out to find him some new ones :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Who Do You Think I Am?

Tears (of joy) are forming in my eyes right now as I blog this. I just wanted to write this down while I remember it. I'll look back on this from time to time and smile. :)

I was rushing to get my son out the door and to the bus. He stopped as he stepped over the threshold and looked at me. "Are we running so late? We don't have time to pray?" 

I pray with my kids everyday before they head off to school. It's an important part of  exercising my faith. I am absolutely inclined to believe that God hears me when I pray. More importantly, it's an opportunity for me to speak positive helpful things into their lives that they can recall throughout the day. I remind them of who they are, what we are trying to instill in them, and the values they should both present and represent to those who come across their paths. 

Most of us who are in the throws of parenting often wonder wether we're doing a good enough job. I WANT to talk the talk AND walk the walk. Every stage of parenting, as your child grows, has it's challenges. I have to be honest. This situation felt like one of the most honorable instances I have ever been in.  If a prayerful spiritual person is who I am in the minds of my children, I am one happy woman.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Waiting for My Aha Moment

So, I have been avoiding the elephant in the room. The room being my brain. The elephant being the topic I am failing to blog about. Could that be anymore cryptic? Lol.  I am avoiding it for 2 reasons. First and foremost I am not writing about it because I am still dealing with the issues. My blog is for soapboxing....I have no opinion/ argument to lay down yet. And secondly, because I am totally lost on which direction and which position to take.

I've always heard that every 10 years or so, you can look back and see a huge change in who you are. I have always maintained that I have essentially been the same person as long as I can remember. If you knew me in high school, and you know me now... there's not going to be a large change in my overall character.

Sure my priorities have changed as life has changed. I'm married, I'm a mother I've received more formal education etc... but the essence of who I am.... solid as a rock. (You read my poem right?) I'm fine with that. I'm actually pretty happy with that. But I am sensing not an "evolution" of myself. I am sensing a that I am on the brink of an "aha revelation". Until that occurs, I'll bite my tongue on what I've been going through.

There are some FOUNDATIONAL shifts taking place in my mind right now. The person that I am, and the stances I would normal navigate to seem to be in transition. It's an uncomfortable space, but I am open in mind and spirit to these changes. We'll see how things pan out. 

I'm just very thankful for a girlfriend that will sit and talk and explore life with me. I adore her! I am blessed to have a partner that will link up with me, and wade through this complicated situation we refer to as living. I love him!

For now I am content to stay open and ready to receive the knowledge and wisdom that will undoubtedly come. I'm sure it will manifest in an unction of the spirit, a dream, or by a powerful revelation. It's almost within reach...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Beauty of Goodbye

I'm the type of girl who has always hated goodbyes. Closure is a big thing for me. When it comes to big important endings I have learned the hard way to say my goodbyes, because you might not have the opportunity to do so later. Nonetheless, it is very very difficult for me to do. I am starting to learn the importance of accepting the ending and moving on to what lies ahead. Sometimes hope lies in your goodbye. If life's not over, your story is not over. Goodbye allows you to head in the direction where you're supposed to be...

More on this topic later I'm sure

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trade Ya!

I've traded my Friday nights for Saturday mornings

I've traded gourmet dinners for PB&J sandwiches

I've traded trips to the mall for trips to the playground

I've traded leisurely strolls on the beach for building sand castles

I've traded my cat walk for the school bus dash

I've traded beautician appointments for soccer practices

It wasn't a fair trade... 

How blessed I am

Friday, August 24, 2012


I am rock 
Rigid stable predictable

Baptized by the sea
You consume me

You cover me
Slowly changing me
You break me down...

Your tide drifts in and out
At times you bring gentleness

At times you attack with ferocity
Oh the unpredictability of you

I am influenced and affected 
But I am rock, my essence remains the same

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Are You Going To Eat That Part 2

So I am around 95% meatless in my eating habits now. It has been a fun ride and I am really enjoying it. I think my physique (which wasn't too bad in the 1st place) is looking even better also. It's a very good lifestyle change. My husband is completely on board with me and he is happy with the way things are going too. Forks Over Knives documentary has revolutionized the way we feel about food. We are not forcing our children to participate. They are however finding it to be a pretty cool thing (since we're not making a big deal of them joining). They are now bragging about the meals that they eat with us that are meatless. I'm very proud of the choices they are independently making. I look forward to writing about further developments on this topic.

Monday, August 20, 2012

If I Could Give My Younger Self Advice

I just saw a question posed that really got my brain wheels turning: I thought I would take a few moments to process it off the top of my head...

I would tell her to always always ALWAYS follow your heart. Of all of the things you may regret, loving will not be one of them. Love and it's effects are something that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. Even if you didn't "love right" or you weren't loved right, it will inspire you to do better and be better in the future.

I would also encourage myself, to walk away from anyone that does not respect you. Disrespect is not an option. Do not allow it to be a factor in any relationship in which you take part of. Parents do not have a right to disrespect their children. Siblings don't have a right to disrespect each other, nor do friends and lovers. There is a simple theme that makes the world go 'round. It's called common courtesy. It is a precursor to respect. If you come across someone who does not follow those basic rules of engagement....walk away before any type of personal relationship has an opportunity to bud.

Hmmm re-reading this.... It seems as if love and respect are to foundational building blocks in my life. Now,  I think I will spend some time thinking about some of my weaknesses and challenges. Growth is a life long challenge for me. Thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's a Big World

There is nothing like a trek into an enchanted forest . It reminds me of how small I really am. I fluctuate  from feeling like I am largely important, to feeling tiny and insignificant.

Both perspectives are necessary for me at any given time. When I am feeling large and powerful, it's like there is no limit to what I am capable of doing. My self confidence and motivation have fueled me toward accomplishments I never expected to achieve. When my feelings of importance dwindle, humility allows me to see my flaws, and strive for improvements.

As a spiritual woman, I of course, believe there is divine order in our lives. But, things don't necessarily just  happen to us. We have a role to play in accomplishing our purpose. I also believe that there is a design even greater than we often perceive at work. We are a part of something larger than our personal ambitions.

  I see a parallel concept in this tree growing out of the rock. It was a seed that was supposed to grow, because that is the natural order of things. However in order to do so, it had to bend and acclimate to maintain it's existence. Be that seed. Hang on, push, persevere, inspire, live.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beauty is...

What is beauty? Who is beautiful? Growing up in the midwest all of my life, I have never been the embodiment of what is considered beautiful. (Thank goodness I had a decent sense of humor so as to draw others to me). As a small child, this had a tremendous effect on my self esteem. I remember rubbing lotion on my arms after bath time and hoping that the white cream would stay on top of my skin and not absorb so that I could stay white.

Growing up with parents who struggled through the civil rights era, saved me from drowning in self defeat when it came to matters of racial equality. Heading into adolescence, and even my teenage years, I had a much more well rounded sense of pride for my heritage and my "beauty".  I enjoyed defining my own sense of style. I stopped looking to society to define what was beautiful and decided to carve it out myself. I distinctly remember being studied by other girls and then watching them try to emulate what I was doing.

In my travels abroad I am always so impressed by the Caribbean society's pride of their own beauty. They flaunt their own black and brown people. Their natural hair styles celebrate their desire to conform to no one, but who they are. It warms my heart and makes me smile to walk into an environment that celebrates who I am and what I look like.

Here are 2 pictures that were in my hotel room in Montego Bay. This is an area known to receive visitors from every corner of the earth. I am so glad the hotel owner chose to highlight beauty according to the Jamaican cultural standard. And let's face it, these two lovely depictions deserve to be viewed, admired, and celebrated.

Monica Stewart

J.C. Bakari 2001

Sunday, August 12, 2012

These Rocks Rock

In some languages my name (my real name) means rock. It symbolizes a rigidity that may almost be a self fulfilling prophecy in my life. In some ways that rigidity has been helpful. In other ways it's been harmful. Perhaps I was drawn to these rocks at the beach for the above stated reasons. Enjoy the pictures for now. I'm sure I will be writing something in the future and using some of them...