Be Dope! (The Ebony List)

I was going to title this entry “Goodbye July” but being as though we have quite a few hours left in this beautiful day, I think it would be a bit premature. Earlier this month I made a checklist of things that I wanted to do for myself over this past month. I was to have all items completed by the end the July. Welp… perhaps I was a bit too ambitious when making that list. At least, that was my first thought. As the days passed and I could see August swiftly approaching, I was reminded of my uncompleted list.

I failed to complete my list. Ugh! How am I going to get these things checked off before August? I was really excited about reporting a fully checked list to my readers. Shit, I was really excited about making my checks all the way to completion for myself. Damn it! I failed!

A little hard on myself huh? lol Over a list? It just seemed so much bigger than the fact that it was a list. It was more about the time a finished list would have allowed me to spent with… just me. I mean, that was the whole idea right? #selfcare #metime Grrrr… Let’s check this list out.

  • Go on a picnic (Does going to the beach w/ my kids and my niece count? I mean I was sitting on the sand and there was a cooler, food & drinks.)
  • Do some charity work (I’m guess that feeding my kids won’t count, huh? Ohhh calm down! Joke! kinda…)
  • Get a massage (um… I lotioned myself everyday… a couple times a day?)
  • Go to the movies (I did take the kids to see Jurassic Park which I was also very excited about seeing.)
  • Go to the gun range* (grrr…)
  • Take a hot air ballon ride* (I’ve watched them soar through the sky as other people road on them almost daily. They actually depart near my house. grrr…)
  • Visit a natural spring (It rained… A LOT this month. lol count?)
  • Surprise 3 people with a package in the mail (No surprises. I did make an Ebay sale and ordered a few things from Amazon for my boys.)
  • Run in the rain (I DID! I DID! LOL It wasn’t at all intentional though. I had to get in and out my truck. lol)
  • Do something kind for 3 strangers (I stayed with a little boy who was wondering the Walmart parking lot by himself until his grandfather came out of Walmart. This was actually supposed to be an entry, but never got to it. Maybe later. I donated to some kids from a church that were raising money to feed other children. Honestly I am pretty good with doing kind things for strangers, so I am sure I completed this one early on. It doesn’t take much for this.)
  • Take train ride (Grrr…)
  • Cook an international meal (lol nope, but I ate a few.)
  • Get a tattoo (I did not. Mainly because I was undecided on what to get. However, I did get two new piercings!)
  • Complete a book (Grr… I didn’t. ugh! Instead I purchased two more new books.)

Now what? Do I create another list for the month of August? Do I carry this one over until I have completed it? Maybe I just let the whole list thing go, realizing that there may continue to be more red notations beside my items than green. NOPE! This is how I see it. Everything on that list is something that I really want and will do. However, every item may not get done within that particular month. I created the above list as a tool to assist me in my desire to live intentionally.  I intend (I WILL) to do ALL of the things that I am able to do in effort to bring a smile to my face and provide personal fulfillment within this short life of mine. So as for a monthly list… Maybe I will scratch that. How about just a list? How about I just call that list an “Ebony List?” Sure I could stick with the coined “bucket list” but… I don’t want to. lol I will continue to add to this list just as I will check off of this list. My favorite number is 3. I will make sure I am checking off AT LEAST 3 of the items on my “Ebony List” every month. The goal is to check off as many as possible, but I will commit to (AT A MINIMUM) three checks! NO LESS! And… you guys can help hold me accountable.

My takeaway:

Lists are used everyday to make sure that we are completing daily tasks by priority.  These lists are used both professionally and domestically. Meetings, report deadlines, grocery lists, school events and other important items are placed on our “to-do lists.” Just as we prioritize and set goals for work and home, it is just as equally important to prioritize ourselves. When we leave ourselves out of these lists, we often times never get to the “ME.” Instead, we are just again…existing and not even for ourselves. For everyone around us. My “Ebony List” will encourage and remind me to LIVE intentionally for myself. It’s all a part of self care. It is not enough to just be a great mommy or daddy. Being a great employee or a great student is something to be proud of and I encourage you to be great at all you do.  Just don’t forget about yourself in the process. Being great to yourself is DOPE …yeah. You can be all of the above mentioned and more. Just make sure you make the time to be DOPE. GO!

 

Social Media “Friends”

So a couple of nights ago as I was scrolling down my Instagram timeline just before calling it a night, I realized that I hadn’t seen any recent posts from a “friend” of mine. Okay so I will explain. Social media has a way of building friendships that don’t exist outside of our devices. For instance this “friend” in particular is a guy that I built a “friendship” with via a Dherbs 20 day cleanse I did about four years ago. It started with the hashtag #dherbs I believe. From likes to words of encouragement via comments, we developed a social media friendship.

I later learned that my buddy was not only on a mission to better his diet and shed a few pounds as was I, but he was also the very first winner of Oprah’s Karaoke Challenge. He won $250,000! This man’s voice was like… LUTHER. Me being such a lover of old school rhythm and blues, it was great to hear a modern day swooner of his caliber. I played a couple of his songs around the house and my son fell in love with one in particular. I actually posted a video of him singing is once. I mean the man’s talent… When I mentioned Luther a few lines back, did you connect the Vandross to that?

Anyway, I decided to go to his page and see what I’d been missing. It isn’t abnormal for me to miss posts from people that I am following as I really only scroll down my timeline when I’m bored. Other than that, I just post and respond to comments or messages. I go to his page and see that his last post was in March. This struck me as odd because we are now headed into August and he would have normally posted something about a new project he was working on, his workouts, his mom, sister or son. Something led me to read the comments.

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My heart dropped. What??! He’s gone? He died? How? This funny, talented, inspirational, down to earth, full of life man is gone? Listen, I have never met this man a day in my life. I have never had a real conversation with him, but I definitely felt like I had just lost a friend. I don’t know the details surround his passing and I won’t publicly speculate. He was 41 years old and his time ran out. His name was Abraham McDonald. He was a beautiful soul and from the comments following his last post, he had touched, he was loved and will be missed by many.

My takeaway:

I watched a documentary on Netflix a few months back titled, DECODING DEEPAC. In the documentary directed by Deepak Chopra’s son, Gotham Chopra, there is a line that has kind of stuck in my mind.

“…we’re all on death row. The only uncertainly is the method of execution and the length of reprieve.”  -Deepak Chopra

How well put. Death is the one certainty that we have in life. However, the when, where, and how part is to be determined. Abraham’s death was another reminder for me of this. It also placed more urgency on an already urgent desire to LIVE while I still have breath to do so. Here is a comment left by a friend of Abraham’s friend that really touched my me.

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Additionally,  I am reminded of how easily we can (whether directly or indirectly) impact another person’s life. How we can touch strangers with just a smile or a simple greeting. So as we began LIVING, it is equally important to make sure that through our living, we are being kind to others. In life we are creating what will one day be our legacy. Make it great. Make it beautiful.

Rest in peace Abraham.

Your Instagram “friend,”

-Ebony


 

Random Pride

This is so random and it will be so short. Every now and then I look down at my “paper sack brown” toned arm. I look at my melanin filled face. I think about those that came before me. Not just my beautiful and strong mother and grandmother, but those long before them. I am reminded that my make up; my dna… it’s something to be PROUD of. I LOVE my brown skin! I love being black! I love the strength and the resilience that runs through my veins.

In a world that consistently tries to rob us of our worth, I wake up EVERYDAY knowing how CAPABLE, AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, STRONG, NURTURING, LOVING, RESILIENT & VERSATILE (along with so many other things) I am.

Proudly signing out,

-Ebony

Big Girl Problems

So… I am BACK on my diet shit! lol Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. Same ole shit just a different date. Believe me, I wish weight was not an issue of mine. I wish I could be like my older sister who has 6 kids and still wears a size 2/4 but umm… that’s not my life! lol I wasn’t given that set of genes. As much as I complain about it, I know that it could be far worse so in the words of Ms. Betty Wright, “I’m just gonna take what I got and work with it!” Even it means forcing myself to eat the food that I know is better for me when I would much rather be consuming the other stuff. I mean we are talking chicken breast and broccoli vs. a quesadilla burger from Applebees. Or how about salmon and asparagus vs macaroni & cheese, collard greens, smothered turkey wings, butter beans and rice??? lol Too much?

So here is the thing. Outside of these thick ass genes I was blessed with, I LOVE FOOD. lol Just realizing that I probably over use “lol” but I really am at least smiling when I type it.  Anywho! So yeah, I just love food! Especially Soul food and Italian food. That’s a lot of bread, pasta, oil and potatoes! Awwwww mannnn! I love sweets. Mainly, chocolate. In addition to all of that, I am a stress eater. If I am anxious about something or just have a lot on my mind, I WILL EAT. Let’s not forget that there is as week of every month when there is an internal force way stronger than me that forces me to eat all kinds of things. Whaaat???

Okay, now that confessional  is over, I want to share what just happened to me. I grabbed one of my self-prepped meals which was chicken breast and broccoli. Grrr…. broccoli and chicken breast

Though I do love chicken breast and broccoli, I wasn’t very happy about having to eat it today. I decided that I would add a little cheese on the “little trees” to make me feel a little bit better about my little lunch and it did. I was actually looking forward to eating my meal. I decide to to sit my container down and play around with my kids this happens…

spilled food

Ya’ll I wanted to cry! Have you ever spilled your food and wanted to cry??? Can’t just be me! lol I think… My kids were scared because they thought they were in trouble, but of course I had to take that one. Luckily, in addition to my MANY OTHER TALENTS (SHE does a bit of everything!) I am a CHEF! lol  #shecooks So, I just whipped up a little something that was equally healthy but didn’t make me want to add cheese in order to eat it! VIOLA!

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Truth First. Then Freedom.

“The truth shall set you free!” I’m sure you have heard this before. Surely, if you are of Christian belief, you’ve heard it quite often. Turn the pages of your bible to John 8:32 please! : ) Though I am not a religious person today, I grew up in a VERY religious family and I’ve heard more than my share of this very line. No matter the source of origin or your own personal beliefs, you can not remove the validity of the statement. Equally accurate is, “The truth hurts.” The truth isn’t alway pretty. Sometimes the truth hurts just as bad as a lie, but if freedom is on the other side of hurt, I think the temporary pain of the truth is worth it.

Ebony's mirror

Sometimes, you have to look at yourself in a mirror and… just be honest. As we move on up in age and having gone through a few things, done a few things, our truth won’t always be so easy to admit.  It takes courage. Even in speaking to the man in the mirror. No matter the level of difficulty, through our own self-admission, we not only liberate ourselves, but we pave the way to healing and growth. There is a beauty in it.  We put up airs all the time for other people and we are not always willing to be “naked” in our truth. We know too well that bearing our truth with others puts us in a place of vulnerability that may not feel so comfortable. This is why choosing your circle is so important. (Another topic, another day.) Anyway, back on task…

The safest place to bear your unvarnished self is with…

YOURSELF.

I think it’s important that we are constantly taking inventory of ourselves. The good, bad and the ugly. Bare it all. No use in lying to yourself. For what? We can’t be all good. None of us are shitting out roses. When we know the bad, we know where we need to put work in. When we know the good, well,.. the bad doesn’t feel so bad. lol Balance? Both truths tell us a lot about how far we have come or how far we have to go. We now have direction and most of all, we have truth. Our truth. Because we are constantly evolving, our truth WILL change. Who we were last year, won’t be the same person we are today. The things that we were okay with doing yesterday or allowing others to do to us yesterday may not be an option today.

As I find the courage to continue bearing my own truths in life, I encourage anyone reading this to do the same. I applaud all those who have found the audacity to embark on a journey to freedom through their truth.

Go ahead! Pick up that mirror…

 

 

 

 

July’s List

In a recent post I mentioned that I would be composing a list of things I want to do this month. Most of this list I’ve done before. The tasks which have stars by them will be first timers! I am hoping that by the end of the month I will have completed all items. Only 24 more days to go! I will keep you posted!

  • Go on a picnic
  • Do some charity work
  • Get a massage
  • Go to the movies
  • Go to the gun range*
  • Take a hot air ballon ride*
  • Visit a natural spring
  • Surprise 3 people with a package in the mail
  • Run in the rain
  • Do something kind for 3 strangers
  • Take train ride
  • Cook an international meal
  • Get a tattoo
  • Complete a book

Be Great!

Let’s just jump right in it. STOP waiting around for someone to give you permission to live in YOUR potential. Just stop! DO NOT sit there watching the clock as if some magical alarm is going to go off alerting you that it is time for you to be great. Quit clinging to other people’s level of readiness for greatness and making it your own. They may not decide that they are ready for years to come. So… you’re just going to sit around twiddling your toes waiting on them to catch up? No, you’re not. YOU WERE BORN READY! It may just take you standing in your own magic to encourage others to stand in theirs. Stop waiting to be cheered upon in order to make your appearance, because more often than not, it won’t happen. You’ll catch tomatoes first. You will find yourself old and withered first. Sadly, people don’t always want you to be great. When they see the greatness in you, they often times feel slighted in their own potential. How silly is that? Yeah I know, but its true.

YOUR great is yours only. No one can take it away from you. Not even you. It’s there whether you choose to release it or hold it in captivity. You can let it die with you or you can let it take center stage with you. That decision it solely up to you. You don’t need others to believe in you in order for you to believe in yourself. You don’t need pre or post approval to awaken that sleeping lion/lioness inside of you. Let that bitch roar!

Oh, Good morning by the way!