Little did I know it when one of my most special Swan Soul Sisters, Kibby, and I had our first swim this summer that it might also be our last of the season. Life hit her hard with a family medical emergency while she already splits her time between two states caring for her mother who suffered a stroke last year. Though we normally spend several lazy summer days lounging by the pool, we haven’t made it back since this photo. I didn’t post it originally because of how cooky my hat looks plus the readers on top of my head! Not a good look!. But now that my kiddos head back to school tomorrow and she’ll soon head back to her hometown since the medical emergency is thankfully under control, it makes this moment more memorable ––– cooky hat, glasses and all.
As summer break winds down for many of us, I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose and find ways to mark the meaningful moments. For me it’s posting a pic that I normally may not. Not only as a way to mark the last day of summer break, but to be intentional about expressing gratitude for my many blessings, like time with a special Swan Sister who helps me to minimize my barriers and maximize beauty and my best life.
It’s Day 42 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Project and as the weekend winds down and I prepare for the upcoming work week, I’m so thankful that at Hope House, teamwork really does make the dream work. If you’ve ever been at a job full of haters or where the environment is toxic, you know how the inching of the hour hand toward 6pm Sunday evening is accompanied by dread ––– another D or challenge women face – regarding returning to work. I’ve been in those ill-fitting shoes and eventually walked out the door of those jobs. Conversely, when the work atmosphere is positive and the team cohesive, in ten months as the Women’s Center Director I’ve not experienced anything but joy because I don’t have to go to my job, I get to! From leadership, to those in the administrative office, to the boots on the ground shelter staff, all the way down to the volunteers, Hope House Mission’s tremendous, collective, cohesive efforts make the dream of breaking the cycle of poverty and despair for homeless women, children and men work.
Serving on Purpose at a non-profit where I’m actually in full-time paid ministry is as close to professional heaven on earth as I can get.. I’ve been in a role where our team took a personality assessment, and though I’m a maximizer and tend to be super positive, my natural disposition was dampened down to the degree that I almost didn’t recognize myself. Shortly after that “team-building” activity, and I use the term loosely, I applied for and got a position where I jumped from the frying pan into the fire. You know it’s bad when you’re greeted on the first day with, “Are you sure about this?” by members of the team. My next role gave me tons of responsibility and visibilty…Too bad some saboteurs were having none of that! Content to run my Pink Collar Savvy & Chic business full-time, I was nevertheless compelled to go for my current Director position. And though I don’t gamble, I must say I feel I hit the jackpot. Everyday a group of spirit-led purpose-filled individuals strive to serve our clients. In doing so, I’m blessed to not only help them minimize their barriers and maximize beauty and their best lives, but to do the same thing with mine. Largely because of the way Hope House Mission’s teamwork makes the dream work for our residents and for this Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan.
It’s Day 37 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Project, and the Cincy Lifestyles interview on the Chick-Fil-A 5K Fun Run for Hope House Mission, where I represented my agency as the Women’s Center Director, airs tomorrow. Chick-Fil-A has partnered with Hope House Mission on this race for the 3rd year with all proceeds to benefit Hope House, which is celebrating 30 years of serving homeless women, children and men in Butler and surrounding counties. Acting as the spokesperson is such an honor and presented the opportunity to briefly share how I’m blessed to use my story of overcoming the domestic violence that led to my own homelessness to serve the women at Hope House. By doing so I’m able to minimize this D –– or barrier women face –– in order to not only maximize beauty and my best life, but to coach, encourage and inspire other women to do so as well. All to His glory.
As a relatively new blogger –– today actually marks three years since I signed up with Word Press, but I’ve been blogging for two years –– I’m still struggling with finding my niche or voice or both. I believe I’ve nailed my purpose –– not just for my business and writing, but for my life. Still, I struggle to engage readers. And being even more transparent, I compare myself to other bloggers who get tons of followers, likes and comments. Consequently, I’ve begun to really pray about what God wants me to write and the revelation scares me. I feel compelled to go beyond the surface –– deep into the really ugly Ds so I can really reach those who need to hear those stories. But I’m frightened about exposing that much of myself. This interview scratches the tip of the iceberg because I publicly reveal that I became homeless after my abusive marriage ended…And I have some haters…
Even so, I’m committed to following the leading of what I believe is the Holy Spirit in my life. Because ultimately, I want to my pain to serve a purpose in the lives of other women to let them know that if God can take all my Ds –– my rock bottom –– and use it as the solid foundation upon which I am building not only the rest of my life but the best of my life, He can do it for them. When it’s all said, done and written, pointing the way to Him and bringing Him glory through my personal and professional life is the real way to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic.
I pray this “Cincy Lifestyles” interview that airs tomorrow not only brings people out for the race but accomplishes that.
It’s Day 31 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and as we head toward my daughter’s Sweet 16th birthday this weekend, I’m sentimental about a lot of things, including my high school best friend and how wonderful life is while she’s in the world. My freshman year was so hard. I didn’t start at my college prep high school until freshman year while almost everyone else did 7th grade. They’d already formed their cliques and made it painfully clear there was to be no acceptance of a black girl who wasn’t “black enough” to fit in with the them. But I wasn’t white which made admittance to that group a no go as well . Add the fact that my middle school boyfriend dumped me for an upperclassman who went all the way with him right away after I hadn’t in almost three years…I became a social pariah. All of her friends bullied me to the point where there were days when I honestly wanted to die. Then sophomore year, beautiful, popular Josette did more than befriend me. In many ways she saved me. Love and gratitude for our lifelong friendship made us wrap our arms around each other and sing along as we watched Rocketman on the big screen and a young Elton John, masterfully portrayed by Taron Egerton, serenade his best friend Bernie with “How Wonderful Life Is While You’re in the World”.
Life has taken us down different paths and hasn’t always made it easy for us to get together. But when we do, the thirty-four years that have passed since we were sophomores fade away and we’re both Sweet 16 again. Connected at our core. Giggling over guys. Grateful to God for each other. And always singing songs…Part of the reason I wasn’t considered “black enough” is my love of a wide variety of music, including that of Sir Elton John. Josette and I share that and sang throughout. We also shed several tears. You see, my sweet, strong Swan Soul Sister is a recent D –– challenge women face –– survivor. In the form of a breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy. With amazing faith, positivity and reconstructive surgery, she’s minimized this barrier and is maximizing beauty and her best life. In doing so, she’s become one of my she-roes. Which makes life even more wonderful while she’s still in the world.
I pray you have a special Swan Sister who’s been in your life as long as Josette’s been in mine. And that even if you aren’t a fan of Elton John and wouldn’t want to see the movie ––- which was weird and wonderful (from my favorite “Benny and the Jets”!) –– with them, you still may want to let them know “How Wonderful Life is While You’re in the World”.
It’s Day 29 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and viewing myself on video was eye opening. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, some Pink Collar Swans surprised me for my 50th bday by showing up for my Thursday class. Among them, was a Zumba mentor, Marina, who instructs elsewhere. She filmed me teaching Save the Last Dance, which is at the end of my playlist and captured me in all of my sweaty glory! Even so, because we don’t have a mirror at the Y, I feel as though she gave me the gift of being able to really see what my students do when I’m in front of them. Boy is it eye opening! It’s like the first time I heard an audio recording of myself and thought, Do I really sound like that? My voice sounded so high and had a country twang to it…And while I heard the twang loud and clear in my, Boom! Stay here!, it’s also clear to me that the joy I feel while dancing doesn’t show in my face. The smile in my heart is eclipsed by the fight to breathe through my asthma. Not the takeaway I expected from viewing myself on video.
Me, Pink Collar Coach in my Calvin Klein Performance wear and New Balance shoes.
All from TJ Maxx.
Dancing is one of the most effective strategies for me to deal with my Ds –– the barriers and challenges women face. In fact, though I’d been doing it for a few years prior to my hysterectomy, it wasn’t until I returned to Zumba after complications with surgery due to an additional diagnosis that I realized I needed the exercise to not only regain my stamina and loose the weight I put on during nine weeks in bed, its psychological benefits are tremendous. I believe my students would say I smile and bring positive energy to the class before and after, but asthma or no asthma, I should smile some during! By doing so, I’ll be further minimizing my asthma diagnosis barrier and maximizing beauty and my best life. I’ll certainly look better while sweating!
I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and make the most of opportunities to critique yourself. Be it through watching a video, listening to a recording, or good old-fashioned self-evaluation for a performance appraisal…But here’s the catch: So often we’re only focused on our areas for growth. Instead, let’s focus on our strengths and maximize them. In my case, I’ve got everything going for me as a Zumba instructor because I love to dance and have been blessed with crazy good mentors who’ve helped develop this talent into a strength. Now I just need to amp up the smile factor to take my instruction to the next level. I suppose that’s the true takeaway from viewing myself on video.
It’s Day 27 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chicon Purpose Project and last night’s 50th birthday get-together put a new take on The 3 Gs. I’d just turned 26 when I started teaching with Terry and Brenda at a small Christian school. In our 20s, 30s and 40s, we became a tight trio. I dubbed us The 3 Gs –– thinking at the time we were from three different generations. Though I learned they’re both Baby Boomers and I’m Gen X, the name has stuck for two decades. Then last night, after visiting my Petite Retreat –– which Brenda pointed out is HUGE –– we went to her home where she’d prepared dinner. Our place settings had a plate that described her as Shoe Girl –– she has more than me and that’s saying A LOT; Terry as Cafe Girl –– she’s a natural foods guru and a Fresh Thyme manager; and me as Shopping Girl –– Need I say more? With that, the 50th Bday get-together was the last in a month of festivities and one of my favorite because it put a new take on The 3 Gs!
Doing nearly half of my life with these beautiful, smart, godly Pink Collar Savvy & ChicSwan Soul Sisters has contributed so significantly to me being able to minimize my Ds –– barriers women face –– in the form of domestic violence, death, divorce, domestic court issues, depression, and the list could go on. They’ve been in it with me faithfully and have loved and supported me well enough that I’ve been able to maximize beauty and my best life. Now I’m looking forward to the next Bday where we’ll officially be in our 50s, 60s and 70s. We’re already planning a trip to celebrate that. Until then, I’ll be forever blessed by my 50th get-together and how it put a new take on The 3 Gs!
I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose and get together with those women you’ve done life with. May you talk, pray, laugh and cry like we did last night. And may you continue to help one another minimize your barriers and maximize beauty and your best lives, too.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic lifestyle blogger, being interviewed for “Cincy Lifestyles” yesterday at my favorite local TV station as the spokesperson for a Chick-fil-A Get Moovin’ 5K Fun Run to benefit Hope House Mission where I’m the Women’s Center Director was a blessing, an honor and truly, “My pleasure!”.
Being able to speak about how I could have benefited from being a resident at Hope House when I became homeless at the end of an marriage cycle filled with domestic violence –– a D or challenge women face –– but now share my mess to success story to inspire residents is one way I’m minimizing that barrier and maximizing beauty and my best life. All to His glory!
I pray you’ll be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic today and share your story. Not only does someone need to hear it, it will help you minimize your barriers and maximize beauty and your best life, too.
Also, if you’re in the area, I hope you’ll check out the interview on WCPO, Wednesday, August 7, 2019, 10am and then join us for the 5K Fun Run.