To most folks, Thanksgiving is a day to enjoy delicious foods or watch football games or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  Or, spending time with family may be the favorite highlight of the day. Or kicking off holiday gift shopping and special deals that come with Black Friday.   It could also be a day of reflection and prayer.  In my mind, if you and your family or friends tend to do the same things each holiday, it’s become a tradition.

On the recent mid-season finale of the television show “This Is Us” (which is one of my fave shows!), Jack and Nicky are brothers whose abusive alcoholic father made Thanksgiving Day not so happy while they growing up.  If you watch the show, you know it depicts parallels between the past and modern day.  In this episode, as young men in their 20’s or so, they decided they’d abandon the family holiday and go elsewhere to celebrate.  They end up at a bar where Nicky bets on a football game and wins big on the bet.  With his winnings, they go to a restaurant and enjoy five pounds of shrimp (which is really a lot of shrimp for two people).  Soon after that holiday together, Jack and Nicky both go off to Vietnam, and life is forever changed.  Fast forward to modern day – Jack is deceased and Nicky is just meeting all of the extended family for the first time at Thanksgiving (yes, there’s a story behind it; you gotta watch!) and he unveils a huge platter containing five pounds of shrimp to add to the family’s other Thanksgiving traditional items.

The story line prompted thoughts about my family holidays and my red velvet cake.  The cake is a special request from my family each year; and a few times I’ve asked “don’t you guys want some other kind of cake?  I can make German Chocolate, strawberry, key lime, blah blah blah…”  Nope, gotta have red velvet.  When I think about it, my red velvet cake on my family’s dinner table for the holidays has become a tradition that I no longer question.  Same with my sister-in-law’s famous Geechie Collard Greens; wooo chile, they’re delicious! A holiday wouldn’t be the same without these items.

So, whether it’s five pounds of shrimp, or a red velvet cake, or Geechie Collard Greens, or your grandmother’s sweet potato souffle, or if that’s the day your family has designated to go out and buy the Christmas tree as the kick-off for the holidays, it’s a tradition!  Something you can look forward to all year, and more importantly, something that can be passed down to your children, in the hopes that they’ll continue it through the generations.  Tradition brings families together, brings about a feeling of comfort and brings a smile to every face.  To continue the cultural traditions of our ancestors reminds us where we came from.  It’s simple and pure love to remember someone who has passed on by also remembering and continuing the tradition they began.

What are your holiday traditions?  Tell me about it in the comments, maybe I’ll steal it! (wink!)  Meanwhile, I pray that you, your family, loved ones and friends have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy!


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My father was a hard worker; he left early in the morning and came home after dark.  As the assistant manager of a major supermarket in Harlem, he worked long hours to care for his family.  My mother was a stay-at-home mom and they had my brother and me.  Our life when we were young.

Daddy passed away from pancreatic cancer on November 18, 1990, and on this the 29th anniversary of his death, I remember and honor the quality time he spent with us.  Back then, businesses closed on Sundays, so the store he managed was closed each Sunday.  Aside from having one day off during the week, he was at home all day on Sunday.  On Sundays, my mother would cook a special dinner, usually Shake ‘N Bake chicken and sides, and we always had biscuits and iced tea and/or Kool-Aid.  She would bake some kind of cake, because Daddy had to have his sweets!

As much as he was into his family, Daddy was very much into sports – all of them!  We had a floor model TV in the living room, and I can remember many of his Sundays were spent seated in front of it in his undershirt, watching football, basketball or baseball.  But that wasn’t all – when he was off, especially in summer, he’d take us to Palisades Amusement Park or we’d all go to the beach with relatives or to the movies or my aunt’s house.  He took two weeks of vacation each summer in August, and we’d head to Virginia to his small hometown of Crewe, or Washington, DC to visit my mother’s side of the family.  But even when we didn’t go anywhere, he was always around when he was off from work.  Always quality time.

When he became ill, and before we found out he had cancer, out of the clear blue sky (or so it seemed) he said to me “you know, I regret that I didn’t spend more time with y’all.”  I had no idea what he was talking about, least of all why he was saying it.  He said it more than once!  Finally, I asked him to stop saying it and I tried to assure him that, to me, he spent a lot of time with us. Because it was always quality time.

I believe Daddy knew in his spirit that he was sick long before it was confirmed by doctors.  I believe his statement about spending time was his way of apologizing for working so hard when we were younger.  I don’t think he ever realized that he didn’t have to apologize for anything, because the time he spent with us was the best.  Always quality time.

There’s a quote that says “Nobody on their deathbed has ever said “I wish I had spent more time at the office“.  Some of us today are so busy working and grinding for the almighty dollar, because we have to, right?  Which means that if we slowed down long enough to realize it, we really may not get to spend time with whom we love and doing the things we love to do.  That’s why it’s so important that when we do have the time, we should make sure we are present in that moment.

One of the five love languages is quality time; and according to this concept, a central aspect of quality time is togetherness.   Not mere proximity, but be wholly present, having conversation, eye contact or doing some activity with someone else.  How often do we drop what we’re doing that seems so important to watch a movie with our spouse or play a game with our children, when they request it?

Because Daddy didn’t spend a whole lot of time with us when we were younger, he perceived that we missed out on something from him.  Maybe he intrinsically felt he wasn’t going to be around much longer and wasn’t going to be able to make up for it.  After all, he had just retired, and finally had all the time in the world to spend with his family.  But…God had other plans…

From this experience, I learned that it doesn’t matter about the quantity of time we choose to spend, it’s the quality.  When we do what we love or spend time with whom we love, it’s so important that we are present in the moment and enjoying what we’re doing and who we’re doing it with.  Time is precious, so let’s make it quality time.  Always quality time.


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When my son was younger, in order to factor in a required eight-hour workday and long commutes in Atlanta traffic each morning and evening, I would work straight through lunch.   In his earlier school years, I would drop him off at school at 7:00 a.m. and leave the office at 4:30 p.m. for my long commute back – to ensure I made his 6:00 p.m. pick up time.  When he first became a latchkey kid, I maintained the same hours, because I didn’t want him to be home alone for very long in the evening.  Fast forward – he’s now a high school senior with a deep voice and hair on his face, getting ready to graduate and pretty much independent.  Yet, Mom is still maintaining the same habit of working eight hours straight each day without taking a break.  By my calculations, I’ve been going at it this way for over 10 years.
In very recent years, I’ve noticed signs of burnout.  I thought it was because I was becoming bored with my job as a legal assistant.  Or that maybe it was time for a workplace change – after all, I’ve been with the same law firm for years, having left and returned three times since 1991.  Lack of concentration, easily distracted, lack of energy, the development of digestive problems, weight gain, stiff joints, etc.  It goes without saying that many of these things can be attributed to getting older and as a 50+ year old woman, the “M” word…but…
For ten years, outside of a few short walks around the office, I’ve been sitting in a cubicle at my computer for 8 hours, 5 days a week.  I’ve been eating my lunch at my desk – while working.  Taking work requests, reading emails, answering  phone calls, etc. in between bites. Just thinking about it makes me weary.  No wonder I feel the way I feel!
Taking a Break
I began to change my schedule to factor in, at the very least, a 30-minute break/lunch hour.  It has made all the difference in the world! Going to the break room, outside in the sunshine or sitting in the atrium of my office building to eat lunch has also made a difference.  I’m more present in the moment, enjoying and savoring my food, feeling refreshed when I return to my desk.  Or, I put on my socks and sneakers and take a brisk stroll around the building (around the building lobby if it’s raining) for some incremental exercise.
The Benefits of Taking Five
There are soooo many benefits in breaking the day in half – or even quarters – taking 15, 3o and/or 60 minute breaks has physical and mental benefits.   A Forbes magazine article entitled, “New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement and the Long-Lost Lunch Break” says “chaining yourself to a desk or scarfing down your lunch in your cubicle isn’t a recipe for success – it’s a recipe for disaster.”
The article also details the benefits of taking a break:
1. Boosts productivity
2. Improves mental well-being
3. Allows time for fresh perspective on your projects
4. Time to eat a healthy lunch, exercise, meditate or engage in self-care
Employers Can Help
Employers sometimes encourage this “hard drive” behavior and should be encouraging employees to take breaks instead.  “Nearly 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks, while 13% worry their co-workers will judge them.”  Sounds ridiculous when you read it, right?  But it’s true – At times, employees may feel as if they can’t leave their desk, cubicle or office to take a break because of their workload or a demanding boss, or like me, it just becomes a habit.  Some employees just need to be told that they can and should take a break…even though employees should know that, sometimes they just need to hear that it’s okay!
I believe we shouldn’t be doing anything for eight hours or more straight without taking a break, even things we enjoy!   I really could go on and on about this subject, but I encourage you to read the article by clicking on the linked title above for more backed-by-research and helpful information.  The bottom line is…allow yourself to take a breather, as many as you need, and you’ll be happier, healthier and more productive.  It’s all in the name of self-care!  Wooosahhhh!
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Last Saturday I got up early because I was super excited about a home project I had thought about and planned all week!  Organizing my closet! Woo – hooo!!

It’s my life’s mission to live a minimalist and simple existence, and I think I’m halfway there and holding!  Clean, neat, uncluttered spaces with room for lots of air to circulate puts me in my best zone. A quote by Karen Kingston, author and decluttering guru solidifies my philosophy: “Every aspect of your life is anchored energetically in your living space, so clearing clutter can completely transform your entire existence.”  #frfr!

This especially goes for my closet – I’ve always wanted my closet to resemble those staged closets you see online, where everything goes together and all garments are hung on matching hangers and perfectly aligned on their rods.  Alas, impulse shopping (and other bad habits) have stood in the way of success. For most of us, achieving the staged closet look means we have to get rid of stuff. The thought of purging anything makes many of us cringe – you mean I’ve got to get rid of my replica of Prince’s blazer from Purple Rain and my red & black Michael Jackson Beat It jacket?????

Here are five reasons why getting rid of items that have overstayed their welcome in our closets makes perfect sense:

  1. They no longer fit.  To embrace the you who you are now, you’ve got to get rid of your “skinny” clothes.  What better way to totally depress yourself than to look in your closet and see an entire section dedicated to clothing you wore when you were two sizes smaller.  Yes, you vow that you’ll get into them again someday…but what about today?  If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit (I just had to say that!)…those clothes and yourself!  Free yourself, my dear, from the bondage of yesterday.  I promise if you get back down to a previous size (a) you’re going to want to buy new clothes and a way will be made for you to do just that or (b) you can alter the old ones.
  2. You haven’t worn them in a year (or more!) If it’s a practice to put away your seasonal garments at the end of each season; pay special attention to those items you keep taking out and putting away but never wear!  Get rid of it!  Goodbye, ugly Christmas sweater!
  3. They don’t spark JOY.  Google Marie Kondo, her book, her Netflix show and the Konmari Method.  You’ll thank me later.
  4. You have items that don’t go with anything else in your closet.  Purchasing an item that doesn’t go with anything else is usually an impulsive act.  Not being able to match an item means you’ll end up having to buy an additional item that does go with it.  The secret is to buy classic pieces that complement everything and build off of that.  Most of these would be items you could wear twice a week and no one would notice you did.
  5. You regularly proclaim you have nothing to wear.  Is this you?  When you get ready for the day, you change into five different outfits before finding the right one that looks and feels good.  Madness!  On MOST days, you should be able to pull out an outfit, get dressed and get out the door!  Who needs the extra added stress of not being able to find the right outfit on top of everything else you may have to deal with to start your day! If your closet contains the components of the “right” outfit, you never have to search!

Soooo….you’ve gone through your closet and PURGED!  Congratulations! Now what?  

Donate those items to an organization of your choice, i.e. a shelter for domestic violence victims.  Give your career wear to a program that assists homeless women get into the workforce. Those evening gowns and formal attire? Donate them to The Enchanted Closet, or similar organization, that collects these items for teen girls to wear to proms.  There are many worthy causes out there – imagine the smile on the face of a girl or woman who receives your donated items. Heartwarming! Of course, you could also sell them on consignment or on one of those online selling platforms like ThredUp, Offer Up, Ebay, etc. to make a few extra bucks – you know – to buy the smaller clothes you’ll need when you lose weight (wink!).

Dedicate time to your new closet – spend about 15 minutes per week straightening and tweaking your closet; coordinate it with laundry time!  Regular maintenance cuts down on the possibility of cluttered closet disasters in the future.  

Pretty it up – if there’s space, put a rug on the floor, add more lighting, pictures and mirrors on the wall, decorative hooks for scarves and other items – hook it up to resemble a boutique!  Place a small step stool in there to get to those hard-to-reach items or to utilize the space on the very top shelves with ease.  Pinterest has tons of ideas!

Getting rid of clutter frees your mind – brings about peaceful energy and helps you relax in your own space.  I am so happy with my new closet – I can see everything, it’s much neater – it is amazing! Try it, I promise you’ll be happy you did!

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A few years ago, I found myself caught up in a relationship that I really shouldn’t have been in.  I had clearly overstayed my welcome in what was merely temporary, yet, I continued to linger.  In hindsight, even though I knew it wasn’t for me, I kept trying to make it work.  At the time, I confided in a good friend about my situation and her words still resonate with me: she doesn’t hang around in a situation that clearly isn’t good for her; if for no other reason than she’s excited to see what God has in store for her next.

What is your cue that tells you it’s time to make a move?  Whether it’s a relationship, job, lifestyle, friendship…when do you know it’s time to let go of it?  Here are 3 points of view I’ve adopted about the divine process of making a change:

Number One:  What doesn’t happen for you is as much divine providence as what does happen for you.  Have you ever looked back and rejoiced because an opportunity you thought was a good one didn’t work out?

Number Two:  Know that when your heart and spirit isn’t into where you currently are, it’s okay to be there, but it’s not okay to stay there. Just the knowledge alone that you aren’t always meant to stay where you are is the first step to where God is leading you next.

Number Three:  When you’ve outgrown the space you’re in, you will feel so uncomfortable!  You will feel restless and experience an undeniable stirring in your spirit.  Don’t ignore it.  Listen to the small still voice inside.  And then start packing, baby…because you’re on your way to your next adventure!

Until you stop holding tightly in your closed fists what isn’t for you, you will not be able to receive what’s supposed to be for you.  Let it go!  Open your hands, release the pebbles and receive your diamonds!  Be excited to see what God has in store for you next.

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I marvel at the stages of taste that my teenage son has cycled through.  As a tot, he LOVED to watch Barney on TV each day.  Then…just like that, Barney was for “little kids” and he moved on to “Drake & Josh” and “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”, and on and on.  A Happy Meal was the meal of choice when we went to McDonald’s; now he won’t even step foot into McDonald’s or any fast food restaurant other than Chick-Fil-A.

When I was young, my mother used to feed us vienna sausage.  I ate them, but I never liked them and vowed that when I grew up, I’d never eat them again – and I haven’t.  I didn’t like salad or mayonnaise or broccoli, all of which I eat today.  I haven’t eaten red meat in over 20 years; but back in the day I enjoyed a good steak (with ketchup and fries!); it was nothing for me to have a t-bone or filet on the grill.  As we grow and evolve, our tastes change – in food, in situations, in places…and even in the company we keep.

You can outgrow your own life.  If you take inventory of the last ten years of your life you’ll probably find much has changed (and if you’re like me, the condition of your knees is definitely not the same!).  In doing so, if you find yourself doing ALL of the same things you did ten years ago, then baby…it might be time to re-evaluate your life!  Don’t you think?  But first, you probably should ask yourself why you’re in the same space.  Your response to that question may be, “I don’t need to make any changes – it’s warm and comfortable and cozy where I am.  I like doing the same things in ritualistic fashion each day.”  If you’ve given it a genuine think-through and decide that you really are happy in that place – more power to you!  But if there’s doubt…

Just because you are safe and comfy in a seemingly stable situation doesn’t mean you’re happy there.  If your job fulfilling?  Is your relationship working like a fine oiled machine?  Are you in whatever you’re in because you’ve been doing it for 10-20-30 years?  If you have any iota of the doubt I mentioned in the previous paragraph – maybe it’s time to rock the boat a little and step out of your comfort zone.  All evolution isn’t automatic; change doesn’t always come with maturity.  You may have to put forth the effort to make the changes on your own.  And guess what? You have the power to do so!

Don’t settle for your current station in life just because you’re afraid to venture out.  Also remember – desiring change doesn’t mean you’re not grateful for your blessings!  God wants us to excel and live our best life!  When we hold situations and/or people who should’ve been gone a long time ago so tightly in our clenched fists, there’s no room to receive what we are supposed to get!  There’s freedom in making room in your life for the new things that await.

Put down the bologna sandwich, there are several cuts of steak out there waiting for you to try them!  Go ahead!  Do it!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” – Marianne Williamson


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