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 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 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.
The cover a book full of inspirational quotes gathered for those facing a diagnosis –– one of the Ds or barriers women face –– and those who love them. It is meant to strengthen their resolve and comfort their souls.
Whatever D –– diagnosis, a death, debt, depression, divorce, domestic court, domestic violence, discouragement, discrimination, dysfunction, etc. –– you are facing right now, may the words and this simple post do that for you.
Given to me by my Swan Sister, Kibby for my 50th Bday, may it especially encourage you today! And Holly, my Kinder Care Sister, may it do that for you because you’re one of my s-heroes! You both got this because ultimately, God’s got you!!!
It’s Day 6 of being back to blogging and I’m still glowing from time spent with one of my BFFS –– we’re high school sisters by heart. In many ways, Josette saved me in the 10th grade. While in junior high I’d tested into a Walnut Hills, a college prep school , but unlike most who did, I didn’t start as a 7th grader, which meant all of the cliques had already been formed by the time I showed up as a freshman. Thirty-five years later, I can honestly say it was one of the worst periods of my life. I was bullied for being a Peppermint Patty –– black on the outside and white on the inside –– and didn’t fit in with either group of kids. Add to that the fact that my junior high boyfriend AKA best friend dumped me for an upperclassman who rallied her friends to bully me too, and there were days when I felt I’d rather die than go another day. Only my faith, family and friends outside school got me through. Beautiful, funny, sweet Josette befriending me the following year remains one of the things for which I’m forever grateful. God knit us together in so many ways that we truly became high school sisters by heart.
Thirty plus years later, though life has not afforded us very many opportunities to spend time hanging out, every interaction feels as though no time has passed. Our discussions no longer center around cute boys, Prince and challenges with our home lives. Now they’re about dealing with the Ds ( the challenges women face like divorce, diagnosis, etc.) but the level of comfort, ease and depth of connection remain the same. This was the case when I treated her to a 50th birthday dinner a few months ago. And the birthday was the best I’ve ever spent with her because she’s conquered a huge D as a one year survivor of stage 4 breast cancer and a double mastectomy. I have ALWAYS loved Josette. Now I absolutely treasure and look up to her more than ever.
The thought of losing my high school BFF has made me more intentional about not letting as much time pass between spending time with my Swan Soul Sister….Hopefully my sharing will inspire you to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic and do the same with your old friends. After all, you can always make new friends but you can’t make old ones like high school sisters by heart.
It’s Day 417 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’ve had the pleasure of seeing my friend and Swan Soul Sister, Julie, a Modern Day Mother Teresa, twice in the last two weeks. Though our professional worlds brought us together and that relationship has changed, we’re forever connected personally by our faith and friendship. I’ve not made it a secret that I’m dealing with some Ds –– personal challenges that can negatively impact my professional performance –– I’ve shared the details with only a few. Julie is one of them. When she heard what I’m going through, she did what she does so naturally –– served as Jesus’ hands, feet and heart to me in my time of need. She’s one of the most generous and humble people I know, and while she’s quick to say others are saints, she’s really the one who is a Modern Day Mother Teresa.
Julie gives tirelessly of her time, talent and treasures. Her heart and home have been opened to those in need and she’s advocated for the underserved in court, helped children to be placed in loving homes and has going above and beyond by fostering the ones who would get lost in the system otherwise. Even years after her coaching assignments have officially ended, she continues to voluntarily mentor those who still benefit from her presence in their lives. And though I once provided coaching leadership for her, she now partners with me to problem solve and strategize how to move forward with my best personal and professional life. I could go on to tell many more extravagant ways she and her husband have shown extraordinary love and compassion but don’t want to overshare…I will say I believe she will be among those whom the Lord tells, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21, NIV).
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Swan who tries to display a servant’s heart, I look to Julie as a role model and hope I can learn from her example. My prayer is that God will continue to bless Julie for the blessing she is to others for she truly serves as a Modern Day Mother to me and so many.
In what ways are you a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Modern Day Mother Teresa to those around you who may be dealing with Ds on the home-front and/or in the workplace?
It’s Day 383 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and my Zumba mentor, Marina, made my day! First of all, when I chickened out of leading a song today because her versions were different than mine, not only did she not make me feel bad, she switched up her playlist to remove the song and replace it with two I’m comfortable with. Second, she surprised me by somehow knowing my birthday is tomorrow –– FB? –– and giving me a card and much-appreciated hug after class. Normally I would have waited to open the latter until my actual Bday, but I’m dealing with some Ds –– personal challenges ––and needed a lift. To my delight, she gifted me with a TJ Maxx card! Woot woot! A little retail therapy is now on the agenda after church and teaching Zumba tomorrow…Finally, she showed up to class looking even more super cool and than usual in one of my favorites –– pink and green floral. I couldn’t resist snapping a pic and it put a smile on my face when I pulled out my phone to check the time after seeing The Incredibles2 with my kiddos – it’s worth the fourteen year wait –– and again after I used it to get a shot of my daughter after we bought and applied her first make up. I hope she’ll grow up to be as pretty inside as she is on the outside like my Zumba instructor friend. By taking time the to let me know she was thinking of me, my mentor Marina made my day!
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose blogger posting for the last time as a forty-eight-year-old, I’m so thankful for friends (and Cohorts in Crime of the Good Kind) like Kay Fittes of High Heeled Success, who mailed me a bday card last week. And for my sister-in-law, Sue who brought me an early birthday gift –– Calvin Klein athletic wear and a TJ Maxx gift card –– when she was in town from Atlanta for a wedding last weekend. I’m so blessed to have these women ––my Swan Soul Sisters –– in my support system, especially when dealing with the challenges life keeps throwing my way. They may not even be aware that I’m going through anything, but I’m aware that they’re there. They’re all gifts from God for which I am eternally grateful. Because just when the Ds threaten to bring me down, God sends one of them –– like my mentor, Mariana –– along to make my day.
Are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about acknowledging when someone makes your day on the home front or in the workplace? By telling them, you just may make theirs, too.