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And we STILL don’t do this enough.. to our own detriment..

On the advice of my wayward friends, I decided to skip “adulting” today after what was a long and stressful week and not being able to detach myself from the bed no matter how hard I tried this morning.

That is a sign from my body that I am overdue. So I made a few calls, plotted out the adult feee day and off I went to run the first errand.

As I walked to the cash register to pay for my items, I noticed the cayutest  wine rack on sale that I could use to store the bottles I have at home and got excited until I noticed the thing needed some assembly. 

Sitting beside the boxes however was an already assembled one so I turned on my biggest smile, flipped around , set my sights on a sales associate, and sweetly beckoned her nigh my dwelling.

Me: morning lady. Do you think I could buy the already assembled rack pretty please? I don’t have time to assemble anything before the holidays and I need this badly.

Her: morning sis. Hold on and let me ask for you. 
She ambles over to the boss, asked, he looked at me grinning with puppy eyes and said yes!! Praise Gawd!!

The lady came back and helped me put it in a cart and I couldn’t thank her enough!

Me: you rock! I so appreciate your helping me to get this!

Her: real talk lady? It was YOUR kindness that made me go the extra mile  for you. We never give away our displays unless it’s the last one and so many customers have such entitlements when they ask for something, I shrug my shoulders and wish them good luck in getting it with their nasty attitudes.
And just like that, she affirmed the lesson my mother taught me as a child- kindness will open doors all the money in the world won’t with a nasty attitude.
I took my purchases and skipped out the door!! 

Now, should I make my husband believe I worked hard and  put it together or tell him the truth?ūüėāūüėāūüėā

I may have to mull on that one.. ha!!
Dueces and mad love,

DivA.

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Necessity is the mutha of diva inventions…

I am almost 6ft tall with incredibly long legs and when I open my arms wide, the wing span according to my strength trainer, Is impressive. While I mostly enjoy being tall, I struggled in stores to find clothing that fit appropriately and many times had to walk away because I looked crazy in the things I tried.

I finally found specific brands that made clothing for tall people and was chugging along until late 2014 when I noticed nothing appealed to me anymore and I was done wasting my cash on department stores and walking out looking like a variation of everyone else.

It was during that time of frustration that I met a young lady in a class I was teaching and my skin tingled when she imparted that she went to design school and sews well.

I decided to test her by asking if she could make a dress for an upcoming class reunion and she said yes. So off I went for fittings as she chose the material and we worked together on color and design. This was the end result.


I was hooked!! The dress fit beautifully, I didn’t have to squeeze in or alter anything and I felt like a Princess! It was on like hot butter popcorn!

On a whim, I took to my facebook page and asked folks where was the best place to buy fabric and once I discovered fabric row, I felt like I was in heaven! I bought goo gobs of material in one store owned by an African American gentleman and he observed that I had an eye for fabric most would overlook.

Meanwhile, one of my nieces was getting married and in a tight crunch, I was sent to yet another lady who took one look at me when I honed in on what I wanted and in two days, she created this dress below.


Couldn’t tell me Nuthin.

I went back to this woman and told her I was getting married, I didn’t want to wear traditional white, and once I found the fabric I was seeking, ( given to me by the way at no cost from the fabric shore owner James) I took the beautiful silk and gave it to Renee Bolden. Everyone at our wedding wore white except me.

That dress was so stunning, it made it around the globe and back and has since been featured in magazines..

Meanwhile, I went to Ariel and asked her to make the desss I was wearing at the reception and she designed this

And so it went. Each time

I had somewhere to attend, either Ariel or Renee or Carla made my pieces. I found great fabric that cost very little and put them on their capable hands. I designed everything Renee made for me and many of the pieces Ariel created although she always had brilliant ideas just waiting for me to show up!! One of my Faves from Ariel was this gown below that I wore for being honored as Woman  of the Year.

I looked up a few days ago and Realized I now have a closet filled with these treasures as I kept designing with glee. I have not shopped in ¬†any Stores for clothing in 2 solid years…


I had simpler pieces made too for every day wear…

And then there were the few that defies description






And to think this all began from a need… lord have mercy. I can now add “designer” to the list of hidden talents I found..

the lesson I learned? Our best work happens when there is a vacumn that requires filling as long as we are willing to put in the work. I didn’t put up everything here but you get the gist. What is inside of you just waiting to be squeezed out?

Dueces and mad love,

Diva

here are a few more…

Bah….Hum….bug…( Tis the season)

Like many of you, I waited until my hands were forced before I even looked at what to do about gifts for the Holidays this year.  No, I am not Scrooge.  Just was not feeling the  spirit of Christmas and because my sons are much older, had no need to go scouring stores for anything.

Interestingly, neither one of them had or delivered a wish- list until I told them to send me the links to things they may want to have because I was not one to hang out in crowded stores with impatient people.  Takes one to know one right?  I was sent one link. Yes, someone loves me. This should be a walk in the park.

I woke up  today, armed and ready to order this thing , run three errands and  had myself timed because I  just knew all would be completed by noon.

Uh huh.

I went online and it took 45 minutes to order and process one thing. Oh heck no. Seems I was not the only last-minute-lassie and the server was so slow, it may have stopped all together. Several times.  I had had  enough of that, so I  took to the streets because surely, things would be much easier.

At my first stop, two women were consoling each other about the horrific relationship one was in and after a silent prayer for them, dropped off my package and left.  Not bad. I think I may be ahead of schedule.

Uh huh.

I am back on the highway to  destination two,  only to find myself stuck in rush-hour-times-ten traffic.. took thirty minutes to go less than 3 miles.  Got there and they did not have what I wanted so I figured I would grab lunch  and look in another place before heading home.

Got to the market in search of lunch and there in the seafood section, was a woman using a magnifying glass with a light attached to read a jar. She looked up and asked for help . Told me she was legally blind, so we located what she needed, I paid for my purchases and was feeling better  until I saw  flashing lights in the parking Lot.

Cops stopped a man who had just left the store with bags of groceries.¬† He was accused of stealing something. He pulled out his receipt to show them and there they were, combing through every item he had in his bag for the world to see and I could feel his hurt seeping from within.. I locked eyes with him, titled my chin and mouthed ” keep that head up.”¬† There was an immediate but subtle shift in his carriage that said ” Yea, I did nothing wrong, so search if you wanna” and I left after another silent prayer.

At this point, I was ready to call it a day and go home but I soldiered onward.

I got to my final destination and as I am trying to locate my item, I passed a man who was asking for directions to an item of his own.  He struck me because he was leaning on his cart with an oxygen tube flowing into his nostrils. I walked on by assuming he was being helped so imagine my surprise, when I rounded that corner on my way out the door and there he was in the middle of the store, still asking for this item and talking to himself.

Sigh.

Cake pan in hand, I flipped around and said ” Tell me what you are looking for and between us, we will find it.” he looked up and said ” alrighty then!¬† let’s go!” Turns out, he was¬†seeking a¬† little rug to put by his wife’s computer table so that her feet would not get cold on the hardwood floor and she had been asking for a new Iron.¬† His thought was to make those a part of her stocking stuffers and we hooted about what size that stocking had to be to fit these things.

I loped through the aisles until I found what he wanted, brought several choices to him so he didn’t have to roam around the store and when he made his final decisions, I told him have a good holiday and began walking away.¬† He stopped me, went into his pocket¬†and pulled out a twenty dollar bill because I was the only “sales person” that helped him.¬† The look on his face when I told him I did not work for the Store was priceless indeed and he walked right up and said ” May God bless you in ways you cannot even begin to imagine, coming and going. May your Holidays be all you ever wanted and more and may others see your light just like I saw today.”

I told him to put his money away as I thanked and wished him a very Merry Christmas for him, his wife and family..

I had such joy in my heart from that exchange in a way that the best gift in the world could not compare.  In the midst of my annoyance, I was reminded that this Holiday is not about us, but the giving of ourselves and bringing joy to someone who may need it.

And just like that, I forgot all the angst I was feeling and drove home a different person.

Merry Christmas, Happy kwanza, Happy Holidays!!

Enough said.

Happy School Year!! ( now listen up..)

Summer is coming to a swift end…

All around me, I see signs of young people being dropped off at dorms for their first year in college and the younger children skipping happily through the aisles of stores buying¬†cool clothing and back-to-school supplies in anticipation of starting a new grade.. Somewhere behind all these young people, are the parents who either can hardly contain their own urge to click heels that summer is over, or feeling melancholy that the years have all gone way too quickly- and are¬†now, saying goodbye to young adults going off to chart their own course…Whether you fit in one category or the other, here are some key things to pay attention to as they are crucial for you and your offspring.

Ready?

Fail-proof things to do in schools (Ages 3-18 )

Look, I know you read all kinds of books, asked all kinds of questions and yes made all kinds of mistakes in an effort to navigate your child’s classroom but here are things that truly work when done with¬†savvy integrity:

  • Assume the best of your child’s teacher because believe me, they are just as ¬†nervous each year about who will be walking through their doors and await your arrival with much anticipation.
  • Smile…yes, smile and let it reach your eyes.
  • Ask how you can be of help.¬† If the teacher says “nothing” observe and do little nice things where you may notice a need.
  • When the¬†time arises to send an email or note questioning something, start with a positive, ask your question and end with a positive always.¬† There may be a perfectly good explanation about why something is happening so never assume. It is the difference between a good working relationship or a contentious one.
  • Choose wisely how you express anger and where. If you are writing an email that would make YOU upset, do not send. Rather, mull it over, cool down and then re-write.
  • Educators are not perfect. they are human. Therefore, should the need arise to make a formal complaint, please start with the immediate supervisor, not the school Board or Superintendent. Most things can be solved at your building level.
  • Volunteer wherever you can and do NOT stop when your child gets to middle and High School.¬† If you are not able to volunteer in the building, volunteer to send emails or post happenings on a Facebook page etc. You will feel useful and it will be appreciated.
  • Our kids are not perfect and will make mistakes.¬† Be open to hearing them when that dreaded call comes
  • Set aside time for homework each day but as your child gets older, wean yourself from wanting to do the homework/presentations. There is a valuable lesson in this for you and them.
  • Help one other family in need if you can.
  • Pray for wisdom, strength and grace. You will need it as the only thing constant in Education, is change.

Semi- Fail-proof advice ( Ages18-22)

  • In the beginning of College, you will hear from your child regularly.¬† They may even get home-sick.¬† But once they find their stride, all of that goes out the window.¬† Be thrilled for a call once a week and the texts that has five words maximum. If you are lucky.
  • Allow them to find their way such that it is, while keeping a watchful eye out for their safety. We all know parties are a huge thing on campus so advise on the dangers of excess, having someone put an illegal drug within etc. are serious conversations to be had and reminded lightly of, as the years go by.
  • Pay attention to changing moods that may seem out of the norm. Whether you believe it or not, you know your child.¬† Using your intuition, may prevent disaster from happening long term.
  • Send money when they need it but encourage them to have jobs on campus so they can fully appreciate the value of a dollar and stay out of your pockets like a leech.
  • Remind them there is no magical money tree in your back yard so¬†an under-graduate degree¬†should appear in 4-5 years not 10.
  • Set boundaries and stick by them when they come home during the holidays. They gain so much freedom at school, they tend to forget that walking through your door at 4a.m. is a deal breaker unless they are paying for the rights to said house. (¬†Just saying)

I could go on forever but you get the point… parenting is a lifetime job but one that lessens in intensity as our children grow into the people we raised them to be.¬† So as this new school year begins, take a deep breath, hunker down and be the best parent you have within. The Universe thanks you in advance…

IMG_2959

with WHOSE money?

As I continue on this life altering journey to a smaller diva, I recently took on the latest challenge of running in a Diva Half marathon in September.  Lest you start to get too excited, I am sensibly doing the 5k portion o f said race in order to preserve my hips, knees and sanity. Once I signed up  for the race which was a ridiculously long process in my humble opinion, I then went to find a good pair of running sneakers that would absorb what jiggled and shook. No, I am not quite there in the quest to be jiggle free and one must keep it real and honest so as to not live in an altered state of reality.

Keep in mind that I only own one pair of sneakers at a time since the only place I would be caught dead in a pair is while I work- out so when I walked into the store, the colors alone made my head swim. I was then told which design would best fit these narrow feet and what modern technology was in place to absorb the impact of my joints.  Ten minutes later, I chose a pair and almost keeled over when told the sticker price of $134.00!  For what? Remind me again what these things do?  Just how much do they cost to make exactly and why do I feel like I am being taken completely for a ride?

As aggravated as I was, I bought the silly things because they were great¬†for absorbing the shock on my¬†¬†knees and proceeded to head to a meeting with middle school kids where I complained bitterly that sneakers should not ever cost that much money¬†yada, yada, yada…. Those teens looked at me and fell out laughing until they had tears in their eyes.¬† When they finally came up for air, one said ” Mrs. Trainer, are you kidding me?¬† The pair you bought were so cheap.¬† Our sneakers cost from $250.00 on up.”¬† Huh? for shoes they walk around in and get dirty?¬† That has no redeemable value¬†almost before they are bought?¬† What?¬† Who is purchasing these shoes for such ridiculous amounts I ask? Their parents, came the all too gleeful replies.

I got home, looked at my sons dead in the corneas and told them if they ever thought they could come to this parent for shoes that cost $250.00, they had a better chance petitioning Jesus to help them walk on water… with whose money??

 

Enough said