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December 2017

Inspiration and Motivation

I’m Sorry…

December 31, 2017

It is of common practice that at the end of a year, people decide to make new year resolutions.  Everyone jumps on the opportunity for a new start, to do things differently, and to be a better person. 

I think it’s a beautiful thing to do. 

I also think that this is a perfect time for reparations.  

How many people did you write off this year?  

How many people got on your “naughty” list?  

How many people did YOU hurt? Take advantage of?  Mentally, physically, and emotionally abuse? 

How many people did you steal from? Lie to? Cheat on?  

How many people did not feel love from you? 

This IS the time to say,”I’m Sorry”.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.  We are here today and gone tomorrow…just like that. 

Two weeks ago, I was watching the news report on a fire that broke out in a home overnight, killing a mother and her 3 young children. I was deeply saddened by the news and I started to think. 

That night, that mother probably put her kids into bed. Tucked them in, kissed them goodnight and said,”I’ll see you in the morning”. She probably had great plans for her children for the next day.  Unfortunately, the next day never came. The children were probably all excited for winter break, and Christmas presents they were likely to receive… but their morning never arrived.  

Your tomorrow is NOT promised.  
Therefore, TODAY is your opportunity to get things right.  Say I’m sorry to those people who you’ve hurt, or if you didn’t “hurt anybody”… it’s time to forgive those who hurt you. 

The message is “Clear As Glass”…

Say I’m sorry, forgive, and love. 

After that, you can power into the new year, being a new person, leaving 2017’s baggage right there where it belongs in 2017 and start 2018 with a clean, fresh slate. 

If there is anyone that I hurt, took advantage of, or mistreated, I’m Sorry.  I never intentionally sought to hurt anyone, so if I did, please forgive me.  

For those who have hurt me, you’re already forgiven.  Life is too short to allow stress to weigh me down.  I choose to love and be free. 

I love you all!!

Let’s make 2018 a great year!

~Candace Mezetin 

~Love is the answer

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Inspiration and Motivation

Clear As Glass

December 28, 2017

Clear as glass…

What a simple but profound saying.

It can be applied to many different situations in life…

From self-improvement to relationships.

However, in this piece, it will relate to being transparent.

Yes, transparency. Something that all of us should seek to attain…

There is no mistake in what I am saying,

For what I am about to say…

Is a huge undertaking.

So let me go there, and trust me I am not scared…

To ruffle feathers for the sake of self-preservation.

As this year comes to a close, let us ask ourselves and inwardly propose

To be true to ourselves, and to those whom we love and care about.

Being transparent is not an easy thing to do…

Especially when it goes against everything the world selfishly teaches us to be.

Despite this ever-present truth…

Who are we?

Let us take the time to really think…

For in the answer to that question lies the key to being truly free.

Yes, at times it may be hard to answer that question…

Because no one really likes to dwell on true self-reflection…

For most, it’s a place, which lacks a high level of comfort

Which can sometimes make you feel like you are nothing but a failure.

Clear as glass is still the goal we all should strive to be…

If not, eventually, the glare or fog will become permanent

Yes, leading to eternity.

Take off that old you, and put on the new.

New year, new you.

Alas, we have a fresh start to try again for another year.

To make amends and rebuild many broken relationships and dreams.

Don’t take this opportunity for granted…make it count.

Clear as glass…

Yes, clear as glass…

With much practice and honesty, the state of being such can surely last.

 

~Contessa Thomas

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New Year, New You

December 24, 2017

Wow…what a year of many ups and also many downs.  A year filled with many momentous moments, yet still a year that brought forth many tears. 

2017 must be a year that we dissect and determine where we have been successful, as well as unsuccessful.  We must identify what worked and what needs to be modified.  

At the end of 2016, I created a vision board for 2017. I made it big, colorful and visible right by my bed.  

Some of my goals for 2017 were: 

1. Making Jesus center of my life
2. Going on a family vacation
3. Crotchet 20 hats and scarves
4. Become a group fitness certified trainer
5. Become proficient at playing the bass 
6. Writing a musical on unconditional love
7. Writing about MY STORY (How my childhood experiences made me who I am today) 
8. To become a 100% vegan

This past week, I took a moment to assess my progress on my goals.  I did make strong efforts to achieve them, especially because I had my 10 year old keeping me accountable.  Every so often, he would look at the board and say, “Mommy, you’re not achieving your goals.  I don’t see you doing _________”. I would laugh and reply that he didn’t always see me working on them.  In the back of my head though, I knew that I really had to get on my grind.  

What’s the big deal about creating a vision board? 

A vision board is just that, a board that maps out your plans for the new year.  Ever heard that old saying, “seeing is believing”? Well, it’s applicable here.  Seeing your vision, seeing your plan laid out right in front of you can increase your chances of actually completing it. 

You may be wondering how creating a vision board can help you….

Well let me show you how: 

1. Creating a vision board gives you the opportunity to intentionally map out what you want to accomplish in the new year.  It’s actually your road map as you travel into 2018.

2.  A vision board can help you to be more successful in accomplishing those things you want to achieve.  So many of us set goals, but we fail over and over again to accomplish them. A wise writer from the bible said, “without a vision, the people fail”. Creating a vision can help you to actually follow through.

3. Creating a vision board actually starts your engine! Seeing all the things that you want to accomplish laid out in front of you can actually serve as a motivating force.  

Let’s get your motor running!!!!

4. No vision board equals no vision. Not literally…lol, but seriously, if you don’t create that vision, your goals and desires usually have a way of fading from your memories.  It will simply become a distant memory.  

5. Creating a vision board can actually help you to understand your goals, and intentionally help you to progress into the new year towards meeting them.  
It is a known truism that goals are achieved if you truly understand them. Once you get what you want to do, you can then plan out your baby steps, and your short-term goals. 
When you understand your vision, and become motivated by seeing it mapped out in front of you, you’re ready to move forward. 

It also helps to think about how your life will be enhanced upon the completion of your goals. 

How will I be a better person? 

How will the quality of my life be improved? 

Knowing the answers to these questions will once again motivate you, and propel you forward into executing your dreams. 

I can tell you from a personal stand point that vision boards are everything! 

You have the opportunity to create it how you want with as many or as few goals as you want to achieve. 

6. Creating a vision board can get you out of your comfort zone, and it will help you organize yourself.  I know for me, keeping my goals bound in my head becomes overwhelming, and at times it makes me sad and depressed.  Seeing them written down gives me the opportunity to make sense of everything.  

It’s a brand new year and its time to do something different!! A vision board is not something that you create etched in stone.  You can constantly revise it accordingly.  Once again, it’s your map that guides everything that you plan to do for the new year.  

I mentioned earlier that I did make a vision board for 2017. Here were my goals:

1. Making Jesus center of my life.

This is an ongoing goal. Some days I’m on track and other days I’m a mess. The struggle is real, but my aim is consistency and commitment.

2. Going on a family vacation

This goal has been achieved, as this past summer, my family had the opportunity to spend a week in the Poconos. This was a great deal for us as it had been a very long time since we did go on vacation.

3. Crotchet 20 hats and scarves

Well…. I did not crotchet 20 hats and 20 scarves for the year.  My goal was to make these as Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews. However, I DID crotchet two hats and two scarves, and for that I’m proud.  It was so difficult for me to find time to crochet prior to setting this goal, so being that I was able to crochet the two hats and scarves this year is an accomplishment for me. Baby steps.  I’ll get my 20!

4. Become a group fitness certified trainer

Guess what??? I executed my goal!  I’m an AFAA certified group exercise fitness instructor.  Not only did I earn 1 certification, I have 2 and I’m in process of obtaining 2 more. I currently teach 2 fitness classes at my local YMCA as well!!! I think I nailed this goal!!!

5. Become proficient at playing the bass 

I can’t say that I am proficient yet, but I am a whole lot better than when I started this journey 2 years ago. I used to pluck those strings with no sense of how harsh I was. Now, my plucking is more smooth and my music has improved a great deal. I’m still striving for the day I can play in a band and simply jam!

6. Writing a musical on unconditional love

Well, I have not begun writing a musical, BUT I did write a whole lot more!!! Sisarias United gave me the opportunity to write about unconditional love in various forms for 52 weeks. I will continue to work on writing this musical play. 

7. Writing about MY STORY (how my childhood experiences made me who I am today). 

 

I am happy to say that I have achieved this goal and it’s so funny how the stage was set for this. Through Sisarias United, my sister and I were invited to participate in a project called “Becoming”. We’ve talked about this briefly in other posts. This project calls for women to share their story of hurt, and pain and how they’ve reached a place of love… in order to become the amazing person that they are today. On December 15th, I submitted my first draft for review of MY STORY !!!! 

Stay tuned!

8. To become a 100% vegan

I am so close to achieving this goal.  I’ve been a vegetarian for 8 years and at the start of 2017, I wanted to do away with animal products completely.  It was a struggle, as I couldn’t let go of cheese, eggs, yogurt and ice cream. In June 2017, I shared with you all that my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and that was the catalyst that pushed me closer to veganism. I no longer eat eggs, cheese, or drink cows milk in its purest form. The only thing that is keeping me from crossing the vegan finish line is that I’ll sometimes eat foods that used eggs or milk products.  

2017 is about to end. I think that I’ve been pretty successful in achieving some of my goals. 2018 is a week away. I am definitely setting new goals. New goals to give me a purpose for 2018, goals to propel me forward and help me build myself further. 

I would like to encourage you to take some time this week and create your vision board. 

Write the vision…make it plain. It is completely up to you how you want to create it.

Choose realistic goals and aim to make a better version of yourself for 2018!!!

Simply put—Love yourself

~ Love is the answer

~Candace Mezetin 
 

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Duck…Duck…Goose! You’re It!

December 21, 2017

Over the past several weeks I have been doing a lot of self-reflecting. You might be thinking “What in the world could spark such self-searching episodes?” Well, over the last month and a half the Big C, yes I do mean cancer, has really made me very upset. What would lead me to such a comment? Well, let me tell you. Two of my very close friends were recently diagnosed with cancer. On top of that, my uncle was diagnosed years ago, and a recurring tumor led him to get another recent surgery. This only stirred up more emotions within me, as I remembered my grandmother’s battle with breast cancer a couple of years ago. It was a very stressful time for my family and I. I am so sick of all these diseases that are destroying the lives of the people that I care so deeply about. The unfortunate reality is that the number of new cancer diagnoses is steadily on the rise.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), here are the following cancer statistics predictions for 2017(I am honestly afraid to see the 2018 projections):

  • About 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. 
  • About 222,500 new cases of lung cancer (116,990 in men and 105,510 in women) will be diagnosed in men and women.
  • About 95,520 new cases of colon cancer and 39,910 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed in our current population.
  • About 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in men.

YIKES!!!

I don’t know about you, but these numbers are very concerning to me. In fact, this past Saturday, after receiving some more devastating news from a dear friend of mine, I started to feel like a ‘sitting duck’. Yes, when I was a little girl we use to sit in a circle and play the game… “Duck, Duck, Goose”. Well, now I feel the same way when it comes to all these diseases out there. The older I get, the more the worry begins to grow. For a while, it seemed as if sickness had stayed away from my closest friends, and family, but now it has caught up to my group of family members and friends with a vengeance.

For nearly ten years I worked in a cancer hospital and saw thousands of people, both adults, and children whose lives were torn apart by cancer. Some won their fight against this terrible disease, while others sadly lost theirs. As much as I was involved with cancer treatment and research, its debilitating effects never got easier to digest. In fact, it only became more difficult. I constantly thought of ways to prevent myself from getting the Big C. After much thought, I now eat more of a plant-based diet, I try my hardest to get enough sleep each night, (but with an infant child this is can be quite challenging) and, I try my best to exercise on a regular basis…but let me keep it real—it is a struggle to exercise consistently due to my young son. However, I make it my priority to keep moving around the house, or even go for a little walk when it is warm enough outside. Life’s tasks can definitely put a wrench in our plans to live a life full of wellness. Nonetheless, it is still our main duty to live our lives as holistically as possible.

So, I would like to present the following questions to all our readers:

  • What are you doing to ensure that you stay in optimal health?
  • Are you eating the right foods?
  • Are you getting enough sleep during the night (at least 7 hours)?
  • Are you actively trying to keep the stress levels to a minimum in your daily lives?

These reflective questions are very important to think about and answer. If you have answered “No”, to more than three of the above questions, I believe that it is time to do a little restructuring in your life. Yes, I know that we have a ton of day-to-day responsibilities, as it pertains to our jobs and families. Nevertheless, we can’t effectively take care of others if we constantly neglect to take care of ourselves.

Let us try everything within our power to not become another statistic. I highly recommend taking the following healthy lifestyle quiz below from the American Cancer Society website in the link provided below:

https://www.cancer.org/healthy/eat-healthy-get-active/nutrition-activity-quiz.html

For the record, sometimes our genetic makeup or family history puts us at a higher risk of developing certain illnesses like cancer. Despite that reality, we can still do something to help reduce those risks. I call it “holding off the inevitable”. By choosing a healthier lifestyle, we can delay the onset of a genetically predisposed disease like diabetes, hypertension, and also cancer.   I realized that by taking matters into my own hands to adopt a more beneficial alternative lifestyle, I began to calm down that ever so present hypochondriac side of myself.   Aha, uh-huh…I do get a little paranoid from time to time when I see a spot on my finger or have bad stomach pains. I would go to my husband and ask him, “Do you think this is something serious like cancer?” I am being very transparent so that you can see my day-to-day struggle to overcome and be a better individual all around.

My husband mentioned to me this past Monday that researchers have found a promising curative cancer therapy that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell immunotherapy, in short CAR-T. Pretty much this treatment works reprogramming the body’s fighter cells (T-cells) to find cancer cells and terminate them (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, 2017). As I was watching the video on this therapy my eyes lit up, because finally, we are closer in our fight to cure this devastating disease. Sadly, my joy was soon dimmed when the cost of this treatment flashed across the screen.   Do you want to guess the cost? Let me help you out… it cost nearly $500,000.   I immediately turned to my husband and said, “Who would even be able to afford this therapy? You would have to take out a life-long loan just to pay for it.” That only helped to validate one of my grandmother’s favorite sayings, “Prevention is better than cure”.  

I strongly feel that it is so much better and cost-effective to be aware of our lifestyle choices. I recommend that we take active steps in the direction of living a healthier and more fulfilling life. I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be a sitting duck, waiting for the Big C to choose me next. I want to be around for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Join me today in my quest to be better, healthier, and more full of life!

~Contessa Thomas

References

American Cancer Society (2017). Cancer Statistics and quiz. https://www.cancer.org/healthy.html

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Car T-Cell Immunotherapy. http://www.lls.org/car-t-cell-immunotherapy?gclid=CjwKCAiAjuPRBRBxEiwAeQ2QPmINxBV1CShg1cA7R173pRJ-Sa-fQyH30IjVkiRasTlhisEWpB32gBoCb70QAvD_BwE

 

 

 

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Long Overdue Pt. 2- When My Life Was Meant to Fail

December 17, 2017

Dear Daddy,

I want to say thank you. Thank you for your donation that gave me my blue print—my eyes, my hair, my race, my face…me.

Thank you for planting my seed, but you were never there to watch it grow.  You were never there to see how my life blossomed.

Thank you for showing me what NOT to look for in a man… or else I could have ended up marrying my father.

Daddy, you hurt me, and you destroyed my fullest potential….

While I should be yelling and screaming at you for all the things you were not…I won’t.

I realized how your lack made me who I am today… the good, the bad and the ugly.
– Candace

************************************************************************

There are some days when I’m strong… pushing, living, doing, executing, and simply being everything that everyone expects me to be.

Then there are other days, where I want to crawl in to a hole and hide. I want to cry.

Then I actually do cry.

I cry and cry and cry. I can’t understand why I have to live with this hole in my life.

So many of us who actually have our parents active and present in our lives are found at times to take them for granted. Is that true for you? If not, that’s great, but if so…You may want to reconsider.

There are so many people (like me) who would absolutely love to have both parents ever present in their lives. At times we take our parents for granted because we think that they will always be there.  We think that it’s ok to use them, or be rude and disrespectful to them, but in all actuality we need them, and need to cherish them. You never know what you have until it’s gone.

My sister wrote a letter to our mom this past week and it was beautiful to see her perspective of our mother—the struggles she personally dealt with and how she made peace with it.

I too am so grateful for our mom who pushed past her challenges, doing the best that she could to provide and care for my siblings and I.

But then I thought about my father. That’s when tears welled up in my eyes.  I’m a grown woman still dealing with the effects of his absence in my life.

I did not grow up with my father. I spent 5 years of my life with him and that’s it.

He used to love me.  The pictures show me that.  He used to hold my hand, pick me up, tell me I was his Queen. I was his first girl.

What happened???? ************************************************************************

Daddy,

Why did you stop loving me?
Why did you leave me out here in this ravenous society?

My life was difficult growing up because I didn’t have you.

I’ve been abused, and misused
Cheated and defeated because you weren’t there holding my hand every step of the way.

I needed you.

But you didn’t need me.

You don’t need me, but I still need you.

I need you daddy.

When I call to hear your voice, you’re never available and you never call me back in return.

-Candace

************************************************************************

What happens to a girl who grows up without her father??????

She’s empty….and she is experiencing fatherlessness.

Fatherlessness can be described as the loss of an emotional bond between a daughter and her father.
(Babul & Luise, 2016).

According to Babul & Luise (2016), daughters who grew up without a father were shown to miss out on having a sense of security in life. This is true because she did not have daddy present as her protector.

Daughters who are fatherless also report suppressing emotions that were too heavy to handle. It’s like putting a bandage on a large wound without adequately treating it first.

A fatherless daughter then grows up into a woman and those suppressed emotions find its way up to the surface in response to some traumatic event in her life. This can cause feelings of guiltiness, being isolated, misunderstood, and sometimes out of control.

According to Babul & Luise (2016), fatherless women have been documented to experience lower levels of well-being, higher levels of anger-related depression, and emotional difficulty in intimate relationships, and lastly an impending fear of abandonment.

A girl who does not have her father growing up misses out on essential foundations. She misses out on important things that fathered girls may take for granted:

1.  Protection when life gets tough
2.  Safe male affection
3.  Dad’s presence at life’s milestone events

Being that I grew up as a fatherless child, I can personally attest to the negative impact that it has had on me. To make matters worse, my father was not lost to death, but rather to negligence.

Sometimes I look back over the years, and wonder how I made it through.

Babul & Luise (2016) discussed that fatherless women actually develop coping mechanisms to get them through. They conducted a study, which revealed that fatherless women develop powerful positive and negative coping strategies such as:

Positive
1. Learning the importance of loyalty and compassion.
2. Becoming a friend that feels more like family to those close to her.
3. Due to being faced with a great deal of responsibility at a young age, the woman        develops qualities of self-reliance, leadership and perseverance.

Negative

1. The fatherless woman takes too much on herself. She is often found taking care of others due to her lack of care and because of that she has developed the tendency to carry burdens for others.
2. The fatherless woman then becomes over-stressed, physically ill and psychologically taxed.
3. The fatherless woman most likely tends to herself last, which leads to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and unworthiness.
4. A fatherless woman may also seek relationships, looking for emotional fulfillment. Close relationships may develop with family, friends, therapists or even father figures. It is also common for fatherless women to engage in unhealthy relationships as well, searching for a love they never had because of an immense need for love and acceptance.

It’s not easy growing up as a fatherless child.  I have not had a perfect track record. I’ve made many mistakes in pursuit of my happiness.

To this day, I’m still struggling with the effects of not having my father present in my life. Nevertheless, if this is your story, I want you to know that its not the end.

Yes, your dad abandoned you, or maybe you lost your dad in an accident, or for whatever reason you did not grow up with your dad…

It’s not the end.

Do you want to know why I’m still standing today?

There’s this song by Kurt Carr that sums it all up:

“I almost let go
I felt like I couldn’t take life anymore
My problems had me bound
Depression weighed me down

But God held me close
So I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me
So I wouldn’t let go

I almost gave up
I was right at the edge of a breakthrough
But I couldn’t see it

The devil really had me
But Jesus came and grab me
And He held me close, so I wouldn’t let go
God’s mercy kept me so I wouldn’t let go

So I’m here today because God kept me
I’m alive today only because of His grace
Oh, He kept me, God kept me, He kept me
So I wouldn’t let go” ************************************************************************

Daddy,

Despite the fact that you were never there for me… never walked me down the isle, never consoled my broken heart, never visited my children and I … never loved me as a daughter should be loved…I forgive you.

Even though you hurt me, destroyed me and messed me up… My life is NOT over. I will keep pressing on.  When I feel down and lonely, depressed and defeated, I will not give you the victory.  I will get back up again, brush off my shoulders and keep on living.  Even though this has brought me down, God turned it around for good.

I will be victorious.

Oh and last but not least…

I love you.

~Candace Mezetin

~Love is the answer

Reference:

Babul, D.& Luise, K. (2016). How Women Who Grow Up Without A Father are Different. Retrieved from http://radiomd.com/blogs-experts/item/32195-how-women-who-grow-up-without-a-father-are-different

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Long Overdue…To One Of The World’s Greatest

December 14, 2017

Dear Mommy:

This letter is long overdue, but I am going to do my best to make up for the lost time.   Mommy, I want you to know that I love you. You are indeed one of the strongest women that I know. Life has dealt you some very terrible blows, but you held on, and continue to hold on even to this day—even though the struggle is still ever so present.   Mommy, thank you! Thank you for loving me, during the good times and the bad times.   Thank you for never giving up on us, your children. You endured such high levels of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. Abuse at the hands of men who vowed to love and cherish you. Mommy, I am so sorry that you had to go through that twice like once was not already enough for one’s lifetime.   You are a survivor! Yes, those just words rolled off of my fingertips with such joy.

I want to apologize for the years that I wrote you off as weak, but now I realize that you were trying your best to hold on to your sanity while providing for your six beautiful children who depended solely on you for everything. For the years that I resented you, for never saying the words…“I Love You”. Words that I longed to hear from the one woman that mattered the most to me in this world— I forgive you. As a woman, wife, and mother, I now realize that I was asking you to be someone that you didn’t have any clue on how to be. I was asking you to speak a foreign language that you didn’t know. Yes, I realize, that I was asking way more of you than I should have. Today, as I look back at my childhood, I see all your “I Love You’s” written over the long hours that you worked to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table.   Mommy, you are stronger than you can even imagine. I admire your strength back then, and I still do to this very day.

Thank you, Mommy, for always pushing your children to be better than you. Thank you for always encouraging us to never settle. I heard you loudly back then, and that is why I persevered and hurdled over all the obstacles that were set before with me with God’s help. This same drive still propels me today. I am sorry Mommy that I can’t do more for you. One day, I want to take care of you so that you no longer have to worry about the bare necessities of life.   You deserve true happiness, and I pray every day and night that God grants you just that.

Many people do not take the time to understand you, but I get you…finally—I see you. I see you Mommy and all your possibilities. I admire you for continuing to go after your dreams after all these years to be a Mortician. I know that you wanted to be a doctor when you came to this country over 40 years ago from Jamaica, West Indies, but you selflessly put your dreams on the back burner, so that we could have a chance at achieving ours.

I love you so very much Mommy. Please, don’t you ever forget that. When doubt, worry, or any of its other friends try to barge into your life, remember that your life was indeed “Well-Lived”—look Mommy… we are your living proof.

Your Daughter,

~Tessy

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Life is Too Short!!!

December 10, 2017

“Life is too short to start your day with broken pieces of yesterday. It will definitely destroy your wonderful today and ruin your great tomorrow…” – author unknown

Have you ever found yourselves so “caught up ” with doing this thing called life,  that you forget to live?

Life is too short!

Has something upset you SO much that it messed up your whole day, the day after and even the day after that???

Life is too short!

Have you given someone control over you…so that everything they do towards you has a negative effect on you?

Life is too short!

My friends, you only have one life to live, so live it well. This past week taught me some very valuable lessons and I would like to share them with you.

1. Take a moment to stop and smell the roses.

Growing up, I was not the type to hang out or socialize outside of my daily routine.  What I mean is that, I would do what I had to do (school, extracurricular activities, and church events) but anything else, like concerts or parties you would not find me there.

Even into adulthood, the same pattern continued.  I do what I have to do then go home. Well, last weekend the YMCA had a holiday party.  Like I said, typically, I am not one to hang out, but this time…I was talked out of staying home and I was encouraged to attend.

I HAD AN AWESOME TIME!!!

I was able to eat good food, socialize with my homies, talk, laugh, dance and live!!! I really had a good time.  I didn’t realize that I had been missing out on fun!!

While we have a great deal to accomplish every day, it is important for us to take a moment to enjoy life.  Do something you’d thought that you would never do.  Step outside of your comfort zone.  Just live!  My good friend said that when she is old and gray, sitting in her rocking chair reminiscing on her life, she never wants to say shoulda, woulda, coulda. Instead, she wants to know that she did everything she wanted to do…a.k.a. live. I do not want to be an old lady, sitting in my rocking chair, wishing I did more fun things in life. We definitely have to take a moment to enjoy ourselves and take a moment to enjoy life.

2. Do not give people power over you

This past week I was faced with a situation that hurt me a great deal. Literally, it had me crying and screaming because I was so angry. It takes a lot to get me to that point, but when I am there…I am there.

It started out with a simple misunderstanding.

My friend felt that I ignored a text (which I did not), and assumptions were made (which were wrong) and as a result my friend no longer felt that she could open up to me, because of the need to ‘protect’ herself.. There is more to this story that would make it clearer, but pretty much, I let it be known to her that regardless of the false assumptions, that I would still be available as a friend to her.

After that conversation, I ran into her the next day and as we would normally do, I went to greet her with a hug and a kiss. However, when I went in to hug her and kiss her on the cheek, she did not hug me back and she moved away from me in avoidance……* silence*

My heart literally hit the floor.

I said goodbye and walked through the door in tears. I walked as fast as I could with my head down so that no one would see my blood shot eyes.

I put myself out there and she played me.

I did NOTHING to HER!!!

I was so hurt. My words cannot even describe the pain that I felt.

I felt so stupid…

Days after I realized that I gave this woman too much power. Too much of me went into loving and caring about her and as a result I was hurt.

While I am an advocate of loving others, we have to love with a shield. Loving comes with risks— risks of being hurt.  Therefore, by wisely guarding our hearts, any form of hurt will not become our end. We have to be able to pick ourselves up and continue living.

I am better now, and I’ve learned that I cannot give people that power over me, which causes me to feel so down that I become depressed. I have to love while simultaneously protecting my heart.

I never want to experience that kind of pain again

3. Love, love, love—paying it forward

The last lesson that I learned this week was about loving!!! So ironic that I had an encounter with love from 2 angles. I learned that while some people can take advantage of your love and hurt you, there are other people who really need your love.

My sister has a neighbor who is caring for his grandchild. She has had a rough childhood and has faced many challenges because of her experiences. (I can totally relate to that).

My sister shared the idea of taking her under our wings and paying it forward. When we were growing up with our challenges and difficulties, it was because of the unconditional love from church brothers and sisters that we found hope, and a sense of happiness in our lives. Knowing how beneficial love had been to me growing up, I am always ready to love other people and without hesitation I took this teenager under my wings.

Being that I teach classes at the local YMCA, I invited her to come along with me to help/participate in step and painting. She played with my children and she was an asset in my painting class. Seeing the smile in her eyes, and the glee in her laugh conveyed to me that she enjoyed our time together. My children immediately connected to her and it was definitely a positive encounter.

People need love, and while it is not always easy to love others we have to find a way to do it. Love is what this world needs.

“Life is too short to start your day with broken pieces of yesterday. It will definitely destroy your wonderful today and ruin your great tomorrow…” – author unknown

Life is too short to start thinking today about all the negative things/mishaps and disappointments of yesterday…Pick yourself up and live for today—so that your tomorrow can be better.

Life is too short to engage in dead end friendships…let go of yesterday’s baggage and pack fresh luggage for today, so you can enjoy tomorrow’s trip.

Life is too short for non-stop work and no play/enjoyment. Stop and smell the roses. Take a moment to enjoy yourself!

Life is too short.

We have to try our best to live, laugh and love TODAY!

 

~ Candace Mezetin

~Love is the answer

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Inspiration and Motivation

Stepping Into The Mess Of Others

December 7, 2017

I know that this might seem like a weird title, but let me explain. You may be wondering why in the world would a person want to step into a mess of any sort, especially when the mess isn’t even their own.  Aha! Seems a little senseless right? Well, please give me a moment while I shed some light on this topic.

My father-in-law is such a wonderful person. He truly cares about humanity and he also cares about keeping his family up to date on the daily societal issues. I believe that this is his way to make sure that we do not grow cold or ignorant to the current events that exist around us.

From my previous article that was released last Thursday, I disclosed that my husband and I, along with our children went to Georgia for Thanksgiving. While there, we were able to spend quality time with family and friends. Two of those family members that we got to spend quality time with was my Mother and Father-in-law, as we were staying at their home.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my Father-in-law and I were sitting on the couch in his living room, watching the news. An interesting piece came on about a Caucasian woman and an African American homeless man. The story opened up where the woman was sharing her past views on homeless people. She went on to explain that she use to think that they were lazy, and would ask some of the people that she encountered “Why didn’t they go get a job?” I know that is very boldface. Well, every day on her way to work, she would see the young man on the side of the road begging. One particular day she decided to stop and speak with him to find out why he was just sitting down begging his life away.

After their conversation, the woman learned that the young man had nothing because his parents abandoned him. Pretty much, his life mirrored a bad hand of playing cards…he was basically struggling to “win” in this game of life (Sadly, this is the story of so many people out there in the world today). It literally tore her heart apart to hear how difficult this young man had it. She would then stop and speak to him every day on her way to work. They began to develop a friendship. One night there was a bad storm in the area of Texas where they were living, and that night all she could think of was the well being of the young man. At that moment she decided to “step into the mess of another”. She immediately went to her husband and told him about this young man, and how she wanted to go find him and bring him home to stay with them. Let’s be serious, most of us would not have dared to attempt such a selfless act…an act of faith, having not known the man. What an example of true self-sacrifice! Her husband heard her out, and was moved by her compassion and decided that he would support her.

They then drove to the area where this young man stayed and brought him to their home to live with them. The woman owned a cooking school, so she gave him a job there, as her class assistant, and really helped him get on his feet.  As I sat there on the couch with my Father-in-law whom I call “Dad”, my heart did about three somersaults.

Both, Dad and I, sat on the couch in awe. Then he turned to me and said, “That woman did something that many people in the world would never do because of fear”. Let’s face it, this world is evil. The idea of taking a complete stranger into your home is truly a huge faith move. Dad then proceeded to say “I am not sure if I would have even done that.”  Right there on the couch, I shook my head in agreeance and said: “I don’t think that I would have done it either”. At that moment, I began to reflect and think to myself, “Stepping Into The Mess of Others”, requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. It is no longer about you, but the well being of another human.  It was at that moment the title of this article came to me.

Life is not an easy undertaking. Unfortunately, many of us are dealt some hard blows throughout life’s course.  Some of us may bounce back from whatever circumstances with great resilience, while others may need a helping hand. Whatever the circumstances, let us take the time to consider the lives of other individuals.  

Yes, I know that we all have our own set of problems and hardships to deal with, but I challenge our readers to reach out and help someone in need.  I am not talking from solely a monetary standpoint, but rather from an emotional, spiritual, and physical one.  IMPORTANT NOTE: “Stepping Into To The Mess of Others”, is NOT to be fueled by one’s desire to indulge in gossip, which basically in my book is being entertained by the pain and hardships of another person.  It is ONLY to be done, from a place of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. 

Is there someone that you know who can use a listening ear, or a hug?  From personal experience, when I put others first, my issues don’t seem to bother me as much.  It becomes less about me, and more about them. They end up making a difference in my life and they don’t even know it. Try it!  

Don’t be afraid to reach out and touch a life.  Be courageous, Be bold, and Be a blessing to someone in need.

~Contessa Thomas  

 

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Inspiration and Motivation

That is NOT My Kid!!!

December 3, 2017

You’re walking through the supermarket, careless and free, doing your weekly grocery shopping. As you turn into the bread/frozen treats isle you hear a shrill scream. You see a little boy jumping up and down, pounding his fists in the air, yelling at his mother saying, “I WANT ICE CREAM!!!!” The mother is trying her best to calm the little boy down, but her efforts only trigger him off more. He then drops to the floor, and starts kicking and screaming. The mom, now getting frustrated reaches down and attempts to grab him up. She is unsuccessful. She then bends down and whispers to the little boy, and he responds with a loud “NO!” She tries to pick him up again, and he moves her hand while at the same time dislodging her wig, which falls on the floor!!!!

OMG!!!

THAT’S NOT MY KID!!!!

Have you ever experienced a situation like that? During my 10 years of mothering, I know that I have seen this type of behavior before. My heart always went out to the mother experiencing the effects of a child throwing a tantrum, but I was so grateful that it wasn’t me….

but now, it is ME!

This week has been rather tough for me, as my three-year-old has turned over a new leaf. I know the imagery of turning over a new leaf typically signifies making a positive change in your life, but in regards to my son, that is the total opposite. My little man, use to be obedient, loving and “normal”. When I say “normal”, I mean, that he would do what typical children his age would do. He would sometimes exhibit defiant behaviors, but nothing too crazy. Now, I don’t know where my little guy went, because…

THIS IS NOT MY KID!!!

It all began last Saturday evening, when my good friend was watching my children for me, so that I could attend a meeting. My children know her and her family, and they are usually well behaved. As I sat in my meeting, I decided to text her to check on the kids. She responded by saying that my little guy was not listening to her. He was being defiant, and kept telling her “no”. He even went as far as throwing a toy at her. My eye balls popped out of its socket while I sat in that meeting.

My heart sank and I became sad. I asked myself “what was going on with him?”

When I picked up my children, I had a long talk with him, and explained to him that what he did was not nice. I then told him that it made mommy very sad. He said that he was sorry. “I’m sorry mommy” were his exact words.

As the new week began, I started to notice an increase in aggressive behaviors. He was easily ticked off so to speak. His older sister would be the trigger then *BOOM*.

As I sat down one day, I began to reminisce.

Growing up, I experienced my mother and the struggles that she endured when it came to dealing with my little brother, who was filled with aggression. He was completely defiant. I remember seeing my little brother have tantrums, and melt-downs in the supermarket. I remember my little brother hitting his classmates when he was in school, which started from a very young age. I also remember hearing the stories from my mother, who would tell us how my little brother would run out of the school, and  not listen to his teachers.  Additionally, he would also destroy other things on the school’s property. Oh my little brother…. My heart was always softened towards him, because I knew that his behavior was directly connected to his inability to effectively express himself.

Now, I am seeing my little son acting out in a very similar way— and it’s scaring me.

This past Wednesday, I took a trip to Michael’s, the art supply store to pick up some painting canvas’. It was supposed to be a quick trip…in and out. As I shopped for what I needed, my little guy kept on picking up small toys that he wanted. I repeatedly told him that he could hold it, but I was not going to buy it. When we got to the checkout line, he picked up a pack of sour gummy worms, and asked me to buy them. I said, “NO!, Put them back”. He disobeyed me, and held on to them as I was purchasing my other items at checkout.

After I paid for all of my items… (yes, I ended up getting way more than I intended. Lol), I took the gummy worms from him, and gave it to the checkout attendant, and told her that I didn’t want it.

*BOOOOMMM*

That set my little guy off! He began to cry and scream. He proceeded to fall on the floor, and created a big scene. If my complexion was lighter, I would have looked like a red beet! I told him to get up, but he didn’t listen. He continued to cry and yell.

I told my other 3 children to take the cart and the stroller towards the exit, so that I could move away from the register. I picked up my little man, who is NOT light, and I positioned him in an upright manner—and beckoned him to place his feet on the floor. He did not. My biceps were BURNINGGGGGGG!!

I wanted to yell, “THAT’S NOT MY KID!!!”, and walk out the store.

 Nevertheless…I held my ground and toughed it out. I ignored his cries, and I waited for him to stop. Eventually he stood up, and I said, “Let’s go”. I walked ahead of him and left him there crying. He soon got the memo and followed suit.  The five of us walked out of the store.

As we got to the car, he came up to me and said, “I’m sorry mommy”.

I looked at him with compassion and I told him, “when you behave like that, mommy is very sad. Mommy wants you to be obedient—you have to listen to mommy.”

As I was putting him in the car, this elderly woman approached me.

“You did a wonderful job back there in the store” she said.

I replied, “This is a hard job…”

In her response she then said, “I know, but you’re doing a great job. Children have their moments, but you held your ground, you didn’t give in, and that’s the lesson he will learn. He now knows that he will not have his way, even when he cries and scream. It will take time, but he will learn”

TALK ABOUT RIGHT ON TIME WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT!!!

I was feeling so defeated. I could not believe that my 3-year-old child was behaving that way. My other children were not like this, but I was reminded that every child IS different. That lady served as a glimmer of hope for me, but I still left that store thinking…. I have to do something.

I started to pray for my baby. I always pray for my kids, but I started a special prayer for my little guy. I cannot do this alone. It is my belief that God can change situations, and He can impress the hearts of men, and so I gave this one to Him.

I also started to research preschooler tantrums to understand a little bit more about what is going on. I came across an article from www.babycenter.com, which actually provided me with some insight into what those tantrums really are and why they happen.

The first thing that made me feel a little more at ease was reading this line:

“Though you may worry that the tantrums are a sign of a difficult personality, take heart – at this age, tantrums are normal. It’s unlikely that your child is throwing a fit to be manipulative. More likely, [he or] she is having a meltdown in response to frustration at [his or] her current situation or because of something else that has been bothering [him or] her.”

The article continued to explain that tantrums are the results of overwhelming emotions, and I personally know that to be true. I’ve seen my little guy get so upset, that he becomes defiant and starts having a fit.

Do any of our beloved readers have experience with tantrumming preschoolers? If yes, what do you do? How do you cope? (We would love to hear from you in our comment box at the end of the article).

Baby Center offers practical methods that can help both you and your preschooler make it through the tantrum storms safe and sound. A lot of the methods recommended are actually things that I already do, and maybe you do them too as well.  At least we can be reassured that the ways in which, we are handling these situations are okay— and at the same time be encouraged that our actions can produce positive/productive results.

I am going to share some of the things that I do to help me through those moments:

 

  1. Pray- I KNOW that if I approach this without God being at the foundation, I am going to spank my little man on his tooshie. I do not want this to be my primary method of discipline, so I need all the help that I can get to stay cool and calm.

 

  1. Stay cool- It is important for us moms to keep our cool. Getting “fired up” will only add to the tantrum. During a tantrum, our children are unable to reason, or process what we are saying. Keeping cool will actually help them to calm down. I would usually say to my youngest son, “Look at me. Look at my eyes…breathe…deep breath in and deep breath out.” At that point, I have his attention. After that, I can talk and reason with him knowing that he hears and understands what I am saying.

 

  1. You ARE the adult- Our kids DO NOT run the show…we do— and we have to let them know that. We cannot give in to their demands, or negotiate with them. We have to hold our ground and let them know that we are in charge. It’s so easy to give them what they want, especially in public just to quiet them down, but in all actuality we are creating a little monster when we do that. In essence, we are teaching our kids that in order to have their way, all they need to do is kick, scream, and cry.

 

  1. Talk about it- Once you get your child to calm down, they need to know what they did, and why it was wrong. Talk about it. I know that once my boy is calm and attentive, I can explain to him what he did, why it was wrong, and what I expect him to do. He affirms my message and makes an effort to do better the next time. It is best to talk in the simplest language possible, in order to ensure that your child understands what you are saying. I also tell my son to use his words, instead of screaming and crying. After our talk, I hug my baby and I tell him that I love him.

 

  1. Determine what triggers the melt downs- I know for a fact that when my boy is tired, he is easily irritated. Any and everything sets him off. Knowing what causes the onset of tantrums can better help you to prevent them, by ensuring that their needs are met. Other kids may have tantrums because they are hungry, so it is best to have snacks readily available. I also know that if my son is tired and I tell him “No”, he starts a tantrum. Sometimes a “No” is necessary, but according to Baby Center, you have to assess if your “No” really has to be a “No”. The whole notion is to choose your battles wisely.

As much as we would like to say, “That is NOT my kid” during a tantrum, the reality is that…it IS our child. We have to do our very best to raise them up to be noble, and honorable people— who will hopefully be an asset to society.

Let us continue to remain hopeful, positive, and patient as we raise our children to be their very BEST!

 

~Love is the answer

~Candace Mezetin

 

References

https://www.babycenter.com/0_tantrums-why-they-happen-and-how-to-handle-them_63649.bc

AAP. 2015. Top tips for surviving temper tantrums. American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/Temper-Tantrums.aspx 

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