Pops of Pink from last night’s fireworks. After a vacation, it’s so easy to let all of the benefits of rest, relaxation, rejuvenation, restoration and relationships fade away. Artful blogging promotes mindfulness and capturing images from meaningful moments helps imprint them to stay.
My sweet hubby surprised me with one of these last night. Heading out and looking forward to time to relax, rest and rejuvenate on our spontaneous road trip! So good for our relationship. Of course I’ll keep you posted – literally!
It’s Day 377 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and instead of attending church at a building, I spent the morning in sweet Sunday fellowship with family. Knowing my sister-in-law, Sue, and her husband, Mark, would be in town from Atlanta for a wedding this weekend, my hubby and I made tentative plans to get together today depending on how they felt after last night’s reception. Having driven up Friday night and spending Saturday afternoon and evening at the festivities, it would have been understandable if they’d not been up for an early breakfast today before they got on the road. I was worn out myself after yesterday’s Zumba, lunch with my kiddos and hubby, Greg, hours at the pool, shopping, and then re-watching The Greatest Showman (my singing, dancing, theatrical children and I LOVE that movie)! Even so, I hoped it would work out for us to do breakfast. That being the case, I was delighted when not only Sue and Mark but baby sister, JoAnn, was able to join us. Though Sue is long distance, she and I have gotten as close as sisters over the years and JoAnn, who lives nearby made me feel welcomed into the family from day one. And since my husband is the the oldest of the siblings and the only male, he and Mark share a special bond –– like the brother Greg never had. With all all of these special relationships, sharing a meal, laughter and love made for sweet Sunday fellowship with family.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose believer, I love attending church –– be it in our living room with my ordained minister husband leading, the sweet church where we got married, or Joel Osteen’s televised sermon. But today, sitting in a Perkins booth–– with one sister-in-law on either side of me keeping me warm in the chilly AC –– and my husband/brother-in-Christ and brother-in-law sitting across from me, I felt as close to God as I do sitting in a pew. I know each person there loves God –– partly because they make their love of Him manifest in the way they love on me. I’ve gone through some really challenging times –– some Ds –– since I joined their tribe and each of these special people has communicated in words and/or deeds that they have my back. Their love surrounds me…Besides, God’s Word tells us “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 (NIV). I know it’s true because I sure felt His presence today during a time of sweet Sunday fellowship with family.
How about you? Do you have a family –– be it blood or otherwise whose fellowship is so sweet it makes you feel you’re getting a hug from God with skin on it? How can you be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about being that for someone in your small corner of the world?
It’s Day 369 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and it was one full of coincidental coordinating conversations and colors. After a busy morning teaching Zumba, I had a truly meaningful conversation with my sister-in-law’s neighbor. She read my novel, Seasons of Her Soul in about twenty-four hours and provided a valuable critique followed by an email asking if we could discuss the book. We talked for nearly an hour and when our conversation drew to a close, she asked me if I see Sue much. Her question coincided with the last leg of Sue’s journey to Cincy! We ended our call with her agreeing to write a review for Amazon and to serve as a beta reader for Book II, Hold On Her Heart. I hung up knowing I’ve got a fan, a new friend and a sister in Christ. It doesn’t get much better than that except maybe for going to meet Sue for dinner. When I arrived at the restaurant, Izzy –– my stepson’s daughter ––– ran and jumped into my arms with a heart melting, “Mimi!” Soon we both realized our colors coordinated, a coincidence that is occurs more often than not with us! Then, Sue –– one of the most generous and thoughtful people I know –– gave me my birthday gift early. She pointed out how the wrapping matched my outfit perfectly. Another coordinating color coincidence!
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose author by day, family member by night I absolutely love days like this. Sue has been instrumental in spreading the word about my book. So much so that she’s given away a handful of copies she purchased for herself! Consequently, she hasn’t gotten to read it yet. That being the case, she brought her latest copy for me to sign and give her tomorrow. She gave me the book as we stood outside having a meaningful conversation about it and so many other things. Then she took a picture of me with my gift wrapped in its coordinating colors. And by the time I drove away with her and my husband still deep in conversation in the parking lot, some things dawned on me: God had me write my book for Myra to read it –– hence our deep conversation. Izzy and I are connected by so much more than the colors we wear –– she’s the child I didn’t know I needed. And whether or not Sue loves the book and becomes a fan, we’ll remain sisters-in-law by marriage and friends by choice. You see, they’re all in my life –– not by coincidence but because of God’s divine coordination.
Who has been placed in your life – not by coincidence but by coordination?
It’s Day 363 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and in honor of National Best Friend Day, I’m blogging about my BPF – my Best Professional Friend – Kay Fittes, the founder and CEO of High Heeled Success. Approximately eleven years ago, I hung on her every word as a new Center Director participant in one of Kay’s workshops for early childhood program leaders. I was green as all get out but dying on the vine! Kay invited us to contact her if we ever needed anything. Well, over the next few years, I needed a lot! Like true mentoring relationships, ours developed organically as opposed to me asking her, “Are you my mentor?” ala Sheryl Sandburg’s Women, Work and the Will to Lead. Over time, Kay helped me to land a position as a training consultant at our region’s ECE resource and referral agency and that evolved into a full-time position. About that time, Kay and I met and I finally got up the nerve to broach the subject of training with her. Quick to explain, I don’t play well in the sand with other children, Kay nevertheless saw something in me that made her willing to try it. By the end of our first workshop – June 9, 2012 – I felt on top of the world. Kay felt so down about it that it took her weeks to finally shoot me straight. That hurt. But that pain proved to be such a powerful growth experience that we kept at it until we got it right. Hearing Kay tell me mentoring me has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life, well, I’ll NEVER forget those words. Somehow this woman I wanted and still want to grow up to be just like had become my Best Professional Friend.
My relationship with Kay goes so much deeper than that though. Because I don’t have a close relationship with my mother, and Kay often points out the fact that she’s twenty years (and six days) older, I’ve often gone to her not only for advice, coaching and guidance on professional matters, she’s been an important part of my personal life as well. In fact, she has so many qualities I admire that she and my hubby – another best friend – often give me words of wisdom, word for word! She’s been there throughout my professional and personal mess to success stories! And the fact that Kay collaborates and consults with me professionally and has shared personal confidences that she doesn’t with others humbles and touches because it means she trusts and values me as much as I do her.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose presenter, I can honestly say I owe just about everything I am as a speaker to Kay. Not only that, she helped me set and reach my goal of obtaining my Masters and even walked me through which major to choose when I stood at a crossroads between Adult Learning with Technology and Leadership and Coaching. And because she steered me down the right path – how I would have hated fighting with IT related homework after working all day and being a wife and mom – I adored my studies and got educated and equipped to do work that is perfectly aligned with my purpose. Tomorrow when we present
It’s Day 353 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I spent an awesome day at The Beach Water Park with my kiddos. My Swan Sister, Kibby, extended her Memorial Day weekend and invited me yesterday to join her at a favorite Girls’ Day Out hangout. Originally her daughter was going to join us, so I asked if Liv and Levi could, too. Totally fine with the idea, the issue was the threat of thunderstorms. We planned to go unless the storm came early, in which case we’d have to take a rain check – literally. I woke up this morning to an overcast sky, and by the time we’d make our second trip to exchange the bikini bottoms we spent hours finding yesterday and picked up discounted admission tickets at Kroger, a light rain fell. Somewhat concerned we’d get rained out, we met Kibby (her daughter opted out because of the iffy weather) entered the park and set up camp for what we hoped would be a pleasant day in the sun. Thankfully, the skies cleared and we ended up with a hot, sunny day at The Beach Water Park.
According to staff, the park was a madhouse yesterday, however, with most people back at work today, we got to enjoy the food, lazy river, pools and waterslides with minimal wait time. My children made their love for me evident by carrying my heavy pool bag, prohibiting me from overspending on them, protecting me from being swept away in the wave pool, ensuring I used my inhaler when winded, and expressing thanks for the day. And they were courteous and helpful to Kibby, too and made sure she didn’t get drenched under the water fall as she drifted along the lazy river. Our day ended as the lifeguard blew her whistle signaliging close time. We were the last ones out of the park.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Mom, I love having fun with my children. When we all learn things, it’s even better. Rather than getting defensive, Liv stated “Lesson learned,” when I reminded her that I’d urged her to try on the bikini bottoms before buying. Levi was born swimming; floating, not so much! For some reason, his legs sink! With Liv’s assistance we worked with him all day and he acknowledged his floating skills were better by the end of the day than they were at the start. And I learned that the bond between me and my babies is as strong as ever – a chord of three that is not easily broken…School ended last week, and today was a great way to kick off summer. With lots of love and lessons learned during our day at The Beach Water Park.
With so many new attractions and devices that entertain us in the comfort of our own homes, how are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about taking advantage of less frequented destinations in your area? Great for family gatherings, parties and even workplace team building days or retreats, etc. They can provide nostalgic experiences and yield new ones as well.
It’s Day 352 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and our family spent it making some Memorial Day memories. Because we’re a big fat blended family ranging ages 5-63, getting everyone together, even for holidays, can be a challenge. Today, all but two who had to work were present, so after faith and a prayer remembering all who have given their lives in service, fun, fellowship, and a fuss free BBQ rib, brisket, pulled chicken and all the fixins feast, our youngest, Izzy, snapped this family photo (the one with her in it didn’t turn out great and didn’t make the cut…). Adding my oldest stepson’s in-laws into the Memorial Day mix is becoming a new tradition. His mother-in-law and I go back to my teaching days. Faith further connected us when she heard I’d been made homeless when my abusive marriage ended and she gifted me with dishwater and cutlery during my transition into a townhouse. Now we’re family. Sharing the meal and our children with her made for more special Memorial Day memories.
I lost my beloved father, a Marine who served in Vietnam, at thirty. At his funeral, after “Taps” played, his folded flag was placed in my arms. Though he didn’t lose his life in combat, his sacrifice was still great. All of my life, he slept under the kitchen table where he felt safe – like he was in a bunker. He’s been gone seventeen years but I still feel his loss like it was yesterday. My son, Levi, looks like him. A few months ago, I took him shopping at Goodwill and he selected a patriotic T-shirt to wear under his red fave red hoodie. Seeing he chose to wear that shirt today, and my father’s face looking back at me from that of my son’s, made for another magic memory. So did shopping for over two hours for a swim suit Liv could wear for another fun trip we have planned for tomorrow. I know, two hours is a lot! But at one point, her father’s now ex-wife had her wearing skimpy strings that substituted for bikinis. Now that she’s out of the picture, Liv seems to have returned to her more modest roots. Besides, though my hubby has never served in the military, both he and Levi were real troopers during the Great Swim Suit Expedition!
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan, I’m all about minimizing barriers and maximizing beauty and best lives. Divided loyalties (a new D!), divorce, domestic relations issues, dysfunctional relationships, etc. could all make the holidays abysmal. Instead, I’m learning to embrace the family I do have and to make the most of our time together. Even so, I’m not gonna lie. At times we’re a mess. But what beautifully messy Memorial Day memories we make.
How about you? Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about embracing your mess at home or work? With a little change of perspective, you may come to see it as beautiful, too.