The House Built On L♡VE & Shenanigans

The In's and Out's of Family Life in Charlottesville, VA


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40… and I’m feeling good♬♬♪

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Turning 40 on the 20th of July was the most amazing birthday experience of my life. Not necessarily because I got to spend it in Jamaica with my beloved family, or that my experience there was quite epic! But more so because I felt and still feel an awakening, a growing sense of unbridled potential, and a renewed source of energy and creative power.

I feel as if I’ve connected with an awareness of my mind, body, and soul’s synergy, and deep down I feel more at peace with myself than I have ever felt before.

During the couple of weeks leading up to my birthday, I engaged in some self-reflection, and as a result, I created 40 lessons that I’ve learned in 40 years.

This was not an easy task!

How often does one stop to really think about the things they feel they’ve learned over the years? Some lessons were easy to incorporate into my daily life, and some were very painful.  Many mistakes had to be repeated several times over in order to get it through this thick skull of mine, and I’m still a work in progress.

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So, here are my 40 Lessons in 40 years:

1. Being comfortable with saying no, even when it’s tough. Too many past years spent giving away that power.
2. Drama is no longer luring, it’s merely repetitive and gets old fast ( like the old saying, save the drama for your
momma).
3. Accepting responsibility. Keep doing what you ‘re doing, keep getting what you’re getting!
4. Happiness is a choice
5. Trusting myself and my intuition. So what if I’m wrong, I learned something.
6. Simplicity reigns supreme. The more simple, the less complicated.
7. “I’m Sorry” doesn’t fix Everything.
8. Being ok without a “Thank You.”
9. I believe in 2nd, 3rd, 4th,10, or even 100 chances. Keep trying until you get It right.
10. Things don’t have to be perfect.

11. Able to reflect on accomplishments and failures, and redirect focus.
12. Looking at mistakes differently. You don’t win all of the time. And that’s ok
13. Better able to understand many lessons thus far ( not all, that ‘s a whole nother post, lol) and make them
work for me .
14. The preciousness of time. It’s amazing how fast time seems to fly. But the real deal is understanding how
to slow it down ( living in the present), which I am still learning how to master.
15. People pleasing does not serve me. I’ve learned to be ok if someone does not like me.
16. Friends are important. Wish i had more.
17. Total shift in the idea of beauty which entails wholeness, vulnerability, and grace, which I aspire
to. When I comment that someone is beautiful, rarely is the comment based upon physical beauty, although
most times that’s present. (direct quote from the movie Color Purple, “If you ugly on the inside,
you ugly on the outside.”
18. Fear only begets more fear.
19. I don’t have to be my story (if you only knew). To God be the Glory.
20. No longer think about the past in ” shoulda, coulda’s.” I focus on what I “can.”

21. Asking for what I want, instead of toe tapping around the subject.
22. Along the same lines, learning how to ask for help and understanding that it ‘s ok (tough lesson
for me).
23. Acknowledging and expressing appreciation to those who have made a moment, my day, or even
life better.
24. That nasty thing called PRIDE. Recognize it. Lose It. Still a struggle
sometimes, but at least I can recognize it most times and make a conscious choice.
25. No such thing as being taken advantage of if you’re giving from the heart and without
expectation.
26. Holding onto grudges and malice only hurts YOU. I can honestly say I can’t think of a single person
whom I have any ill-will towards.
27. Owning that your body IS your temple. Don’t want it to be too late before learning this one.
It ‘s the only body you ‘ll ever have. Treat it kindly and with respect.
28. People learn to treat you by the way you treat yourself.
29. Once you’ve “found yourself ” you can then work on creating yourself
30. Sometimes you have to loose in order to win.

31. To live my life being the person I want to be and doing the things I want to do is my definition of a successful life.
32. Discovering our purpose in life usually lies within those things that motivates us and brings us joy. A certain level
of self awareness is necessary, which complicates the issue.                                                                              33. Prayer changes things.
34. Can’t expect a Gallon from Pint sized people. You have to meet people where they are.
35. “Just Win Today.” Currently, my favorite motto that Marc taught me.  Sometimes you can’t see the forest, for all the trees.  Don’t worry about anything else, other than what’s right in front of you.

36. My family is one of my greatest blessings and purposes. They teach me there’s a greater depth to Love than I have ever known.

37. We are deserving of ALL things good.

38. The places in our personality where we tend to deviate from love are not our faults, but our wounds. God does not want to punish us, but heal us. And this is how we should view the wounds of others (Marriane Williamson).

39. Look not to the seen but to the unseen. For what we see is merely the effect. The cause is created by our conscious & unconscious thought, beliefs, and faith. If we
think lack, poverty, and limitation, then that’s what we’ll manifest. Likewise, if we think abundance and positivity,    that ‘s what we’ll manifest. It all begins with our thoughts.

40. Age ain’t nothing but a number! You are as young as you feel you are!

I feel so blessed to have had such an amazing 40 years, enjoying both the sweet things life has to offer and also feeling the strength of resilience of enduring the challenges. I am ready to embrace this next 40 plus years of my life and the many more lessons that I have yet to learn.  I look forward to the continual discovery of all life has to offer.


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New York Is Alright With Me!

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A couple weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of spending some much needed big girl time in New York City with my couSiS (cousin/sister) Julie, and our very young and super hip aunt Cherelle.  This visit was long overdue!

Let me tell you, it was one hysterically gut busting, good eatin’,  smorgasbord-for-the-senses-good time!


Having only been to the “Big Apple” once before with my in-laws several years ago when Marley Bear was just a baby, I really wasn’t able to get the full flava of the city.
This time was very different.

I was completely immersed in that iconic NY culture, so much so, that well…I pretty much felt like a born-again New Yorker.

But you have to be in good shape, both mentally and physically, to live in the big city.  I’m pretty sure we walked nearly 15 city miles, and caught no less than 10 brain-twisting trips on the subway daily. Plus we increased our carbon footprint by discarding no fewer than five fliers, pamphlets, and brochures per block for shows and various activities.  After awhile, I even learned how to not accept them… politely.


And how about all of my preconceived notions about New Yorkers? Loud, arrogant, gruff, rude, and inconsiderate – armed with their thick accents, coney dogs and pizza slices!  Heck, I thought half of those city slickers were intent on picking my pocket or swindling me outta my travelers checks.

I was expecting to see a parade of drug addled, sideshow freaky people (well, we did see a few of those, but hey, no judgement) who planned on accosting me at every turn while I walked, eyes down and shoulders hunched, clutching my purse for dear life.

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Ha!

Instead, I discovered very helpful, friendly, hospitable, seemingly honest folks, who contributed to an amazing and  flavorful trip.

Julie even lost her credit card, but it was returned to her the next day.  How’s that for busting the stereotype of the impatient, wise-guy borough dweller!

Heck, we even scored free breakfast our last day there at Cherelle’s cute little neighborhood coffee shop.

Not to mention, all the things that the big city has to offer. Our itinerary over the course of two days included a lot, but my favorites included:


  

This trip was such a fun and eye-opening event, that we’ve decided to make it an annual affair!

We felt like Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte.

Until the next time ladies…

And speaking of Charlotte…Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Charlottesville, the husbands where dutifully holding down the fort like good daddy’s should…a couple of regular ol’ Good Fellas.

Big Eddie, Lil Eddie, and Langston came up from North Carolina to keep Marc and the girls company while we were living it up in Gotham.  Instead of Three Men and a Baby, there were Two Men and Five Babies.  But no surprise, they held it down like they do!

Thanks gentlemen for helping to making this trip possible.  Get ready to do it all again next year.

Keep your burp cloths handy!

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The Real Good Fellas

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Introducing…Lil Eddie!

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Delaney…the little helper.


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Barre, Anyone?

For quite a while now, I’ve been hearing about one of the latest exercise crazes, known as Barre.

If you’re unfamiliar with Barre, it’s based upon ballet movements…and yes, you guessed right, using a ballet bar.

It is a combination of strength-training, dance, orthopedic back exercises, and Hatha yoga all rolled into an intense, hour-long mind-body workout.

Founded by Lotte Berke,

A dancer and teacher, Barre promises to deliver a sensual and satisfying fitness system that firm, lengthen, and shape muscles to their most optimal form: high rounded seats, flat outer thighs, lean long torsos and defined waistlines…every woman’s dream, no wonder the popularity!

I was quite geeked when my coworker informed me of a free introductory class tonight at one of Charlottesville’s premier Barre studios, appropriately called barre.[d]

 In eager anticipation, I hurried through my work day to ensure I could make the 6:30pm start time.

Upon arrival, I quickly discovered why the class was offered for free – because it was being instructed by a brand new teacher, and we would be her guinea pigs.

I also did not know that I had to pre-register! The class was packed full, with no space for me sadly.

Disappointed, I asked the owner if I could watch from the side.  She was very nice and excited to see her new pupil earn her wings, and welcomed me to observe as she explained to me the Barre philosophy.

The class began as the novice instructor beckoned the participants to stand and initiate a warm up stretch.

Instructor: “Get into 2nd position, bring your arms up over your head,” as she unabashedly flung her arms up over her head.

And just like that, the class was over!

Unfortunately, when the instructor swung her arms up over head, she knocked out one of the long, low hanging cord lights. The bulb broke sending shards of glass flying everywhere!

Now these weren’t your run-of-the-mill lights mind you.  They were beautiful, old, mercury filled Edison bulbs.

Although these bulbs may have been strategically placed to contribute to the overall aesthetics and allure of the studio, I would be very surprised if this was not the first time this had happened!

With horror on the instructor ‘s face, and the class nervously not knowing what to do, the owner announced the class was cancelled.  The broken mercuried bulbs had to go through a thorough clean up process to avoid contamination.

The new instructor offered embarrassed apologies and assurances that her 2nd attempt would yield better results, and a make up session would be sure to follow.

And as soon as the class started, it was over.  I guess sometimes you get what you pay for (tee hee).

On a serious note, I wish her well, and in the words of Arnold Schwartzenger, “I’ll be back.”

The owner invited those who were interested, to come back around 7:45pm for the next class, in which she would be instructing.  Of course, this class was not free, but one of her regularly scheduled classes.

Still somewhat interested, and remembering that I had already paid for parking, I decided to hang around and take myself to a nice dinner, and perhaps a drink.  It’s rare, that I get time to myself, so why not, I thought.

I chose a cute little outdoor restaurant two doors down called Mono Loco.  I ordered a fantastic watermelon margarita, and some surprisingly good, but strange shrimp tacos that came with, believe-it-or-not, barbecued potato chips as a topper (yeah, I know).

I finished my meal, headed back over to barre.[d], thinking I was only going back to watch.  The class had already started, and to my surprise, the owner called me by name, and asked me to come join them.

I’d consider myself to be in pretty good physical shape, I mean I do workout (to tute my own horn), but this was perhaps the most physically challenging, muscle burning, multiple rest break requiring exercise activity that I have done in a very long time.  I could barely hang!

I am super excited to accept this challenge and can’t wait to return again in the future.

Word of advice, don’t go to the bar, then go to the Barre.


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Celebrating A Life’s Sunset And A Life’s Sunrise…A Funeral And A Birthday

Life is……..

Celebrating the homegoing of my father figure, and the 8th birthday of my eldest daughter.

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Birth and death, twin-sister and twin-brother,

Night and day, on all things that draw breath,
Reign, while time keeps friends with one another
Birth and death.

Each brow-bound with flowers diverse of wreath,
Heaven they hail as father, earth as mother,
Faithful found above them and beneath.

Smiles may lighten tears, and tears may smother
Smiles, for all that joy or sorrow saith:
Joy nor sorrow knows not from each other
Birth and death.
Algernon Charles Swinburne

 


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” I do”

A couple of months ago, I was debating taking on the role of Vice President of the PTO at my children’s school.  Well, I decided to committ myself to this task and look forward to the new ways that I can be of service to our school, teachers and students!  Even though I still wonder how I am going to make this fit in with the incessant demands of my fulltime job, obligations to home, and some slither of “me time” – which is seemingly to be  as hard to find as a pot of gold at the bottom of a rainbow, I know I can, therefore I will 🙂 

 

In the end, it ‘s all about the kids.

  
 

Celebrating today

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September 14th, marks exactly one year that we took a leap of faith,  left our home and all that we knew in Kansas City behind, and trekked half away across the country to Charlottesville, VA to begin our new life.

Our mission: Voluntary simplicity.  Although we L♡VED KC, we wanted to create a simpler, more enjoyable, freeing life for ourselves and our children.  One that did not entail so many self imposed commitments that kept us busy working for everyone but ourselves.  A life that could be created around our dreams, our life goals, our relatives, incorporate new adventures and a fresh breath of new inspiration, and allow us to grow personally, professionally and spiritually.

What a wonderful year it has been.  We are so thankful that we heeded to that call and made the choice to live our lives as we define it.  Life is way too short to just watch it happen, you have to make it happen.

Sometimes that involves starting over, and that’s ok, because there’s almost always an even bigger blessing in store.

And we are grateful…

 

Sometimes you have to start over.

Sometimes you have to start over.

 

Taking risks. However this year, the stakes were higher. Winning..

Taking risks. However this year, the stakes were higher. Winning..

These boots were made for walking, and that's just what we'll do. We'll all walk through this life together....and the next

These boots were made for walking, and that’s just what we’ll do. We’ll all walk through this life together….and the next

We should choose our path wisely. There is a divine plan for each of us, and our choice to follow the right path can limit heartache, heartbreak, and unnecessary pain.

We should choose our path wisely. There is a divine plan for each of us, and our choice to follow the right path can limit heartache, heartbreak, and unnecessary pain.

Another dawn of a new day. Another day to be better than yesterday.

Another dawn of a new day. Another day to be better than yesterday.

Life is not easy, and at times we all need a little help to stay the course. There are times that we may need to be carried, guided, or led. Our job is to discover and live our own path, and teach and encourage others to find their own.

Life is not easy, and at times we all need a little help to stay the course. There are times that we may need to be carried, guided, or led. Our job is to discover and live our own path, and teach and encourage others to find their own.

Dare to go higher.

Sometimes, you just have to get your feet wet.

 

'Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don't stop at your station.' -Carlos Ruiz Zafone.

‘Lives with no meaning go straight past you, like trains that don’t stop at your station.’
-Carlos Ruiz Zafone.

He leadeth me in paths of righteousness

He leadeth me in paths of righteousness

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Many roads traveled, many lessons learned. More travels in store.

 

Live.Laugh.Love.Play.

Live. Laugh. Love. Play.

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Dare to go higher.

 

 

 

Happy 1 year anniversary to our new life!

Happy 1 year anniversary to our new life!

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At The Barbecue?

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One of the joys of my job and perks of being “da boss” is that unlike any other employers that I have worked for in the past, my current job openly embraces children in the work place if necessary.  My kids have had the added benefit of seeing me in action several times for short spurts, and our patients seem to love it.

As my day was winding down recently, I was greeted with an after-school visit by the girls.  I have a standing arrangement with two particular residents that I will bring the girls to visit them whenever they stop in.

So today, we headed to find my sweet little resident, who happened to be outside during “smoke hour” with all of the others who were smoking cigarettes, and being supervised by my buddy nurse friend.

Mind you, my girls have little to no experience with being around cigarettes or smokers, because neither Marc nor I have immediate friends or family who they’ve seen smoking.

We stepped out onto the outdoor smoking terrace, and I could see the surprise in the girls eyes as they caught a glimpse of the smoke wafting in the air, as well as the wrinkled looks on their faces as they got a whiff of the distinctively harsh smell of the cigarettes.

Delaney’s first response was: “What are y’all doing out here, having a barbecue?”  She then turned to my supervising nurse friend and says to her, “And who are you…the chef?”

I thought I was going to die from laughter – we all laughed so hard!

Then wise old sage-like Marley, chipped in her two cents by matter-of-factly telling Delaney, that this was not a barbecue, but that all of the people present had “smokers” (lighters) and “smokerettes” (cigarettes).

I have no idea where she got those terms from, but apparently she creatively made them up.

Boy, if they could only stay this innocent!