Song of the Week: Jennifer Hudson – I GOT THIS LYRICS

I am really feeling this new Jennifer Hudson song! I love the strength of this song and it stands as a testament for all that she has had to endure to become a professional singer. Her story echo’s so many of our own if you stop to think about it. How many times has someone said that you couldn’t achieve one of your goals? How many times have you heard that your dream is an impossible one? Am I striking a nerve yet?

Was there ever a time when those closest to you doubted your ability, or talents? Did their nay-saying motivate you or did you second guess yourself?

Well, whatever happened previously, I hope that this song will give you the encouragement to press forward and follow your dreams and reach for your goals!




SPOTLIGHT CORNER ~ Tamara @YouAreFIERCE, Founder of MOM Magazine

Oh, I have quite a treat for each of you this week as we approach Spring.  I have the pleasure of introducing my “Sista from anotha Mista,” my confidante and advisor on all things personal, Tamara Plant of YOU ARE FIERCE and Mom Magazine.  She is an extraordinary example of making your own trail and making it blaze behind you!  her unconventional wisdom, simple approach to rejecting  June Cleaver and Martha Stewart ideologies and finding our own paths to being a successful mother has helped thousands of women to stop beating themselves for not obtaining someone else’s vision of “perfection.”

Without anymore delay, I welcome Tamara!


Nothing about me is average. OK maybe I’m average in height but my personality take me from 5’5 to 8 feet tall and bullet proof, so even that makes me atypical.

Ever since I was a smartass kid growing up in the inner city of Edmonton, I always knew the universe had a plan for me; living an average life was not in the cards, and although there have been multiple speed bumps and road blocks on my journey, resilience has been my best friend. I went through some shit (haven’t we all?) but I don’t believe in playing the victim card. In fact, if you play it around me I will bitchslap you with it. The “Woe is Me” mentality doesn’t cut it, sister. Everyone has their demons and baggage; it’s what you do with it that defines your character.

Some defining moments in my life include the death of my grandma when I was 19. Losing her was a slap in the face, a wake-up call to appreciate the good things you have in your life before it’s too late. It also made me turtle into a steel shell of protectiveness thinking that if you were tough, nothing could touch you. I lived that way for a long time, expecting anyone I cared about to leave me. It wasn’t just her death that made me feel that way, there were other moments in my life that contributed to it but that was a big one.

At 21, I got my first job as a sports writer at a daily paper. At 24, I gave up my career to be with the man I eventually married and although there were moments I wished I had handled the career situation differently, I never regretted being with him.

I couldn’t give up the communications industry all together so I went into the back-end of publishing, learning the fine art of how everything worked: design, ad production, editorial calendars, print, web design. All of these skills came in quite handily when I decided to launch MOM Magazine in 2007. I enjoyed some degree of success, changing the stereotype of what a MOM is and is “suppose to” be. I enabled moms to leave the mommy-mode and embrace their true identity as a woman. It was quite liberating but after all of this time, I feel it’s time to move forward, evolve, if you will, as I have grown and changed over the past 5 years.

Three years ago, I created FIERCE: Females Inspiring Each other in a Real Community of Empowerment. It sat on the back-burner while I dealt with some personal issues (my grandfather’s journey through cancer and eventual death sent me into a tailspin of depression) but I have since resurrected what I started. FIERCE is all about inspiring other women, empowering them to celebrate their successes and embrace their spirit. It’s about peer mentoring in a no-catty bullshit environment and championing each other’s victories.

This past October, I single-handedly put together the 2nd annual FIERCE Women of the Year awards. As I walked around the event, I soaked up all of the crazy fantastic energy and thought to myself, “I did this! ME! All by myself!” I owned that moment and knew that I had come out the other side of one of the darkest times in my life.

No matter what life throws at you, no matter how many times it kicks you and you feel beaten, fight back. There is no reason to give up, ever. If you think there is a reason to just lay down and quit, find 10 reasons to get back up.

You are FIERCE. You deserve happiness and you deserve good things in your life. If you ever doubt yourself, just look in the mirror and repeat those words over and over until you feel a glimmer of strength. Hold on to that feeling and remember that nothing about YOU is average, either.

I said so.


Tamara Plant
Founder/Publisher You Are Fierce &MOM Magazine
Producer of the FIERCE Women of the Year awards

Life as a MOM doesn’t mean life as a WOMAN has to end!

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*note* our twitter account is NOT for the faint of heart or the easily

SPOTLIGHT CORNER ~ @JuliaRoberts1 of Support for Special Needs

This week in my SPOTLIGHT CORNER, I am so very proud to welcome Julia Roberts of Support for Special Needs. I am so proud to have her here in the SPOTLIGHT CORNER because she is just AWESOME!! As a parent of a child with Special Needs, I can’t begin to tell you how her words and the support of the community that she has created have helped me and my family, and although she believes that she is getting so much in return from the community she has created for families with children that have special needs, I assure you – we would be lost without her gentle support, fierce advocacy and love. I look to Julia when I am at my wits end, when I have an IEP coming up and when I just want to celebrate a good day with my son. She’s been in my shoes, she wears them well, she is my constant reminder that sometimes I have to run in heels to advocate for my families needs and its not impossible to run my race wearing shoes that I have been assigned. Without further delay here is Julia’s perspective on How Blogging has impacted her life.

When I started blogging in 2004 I mainly did it because I was exhausted from telling multiple people about the day, or the week, or the appointments that were changing our lives at lightning speed. In 2001 at two days old, our daughter was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. Three months later our then 3 year-old son was diagnosed as well. A myriad of appointments, treatments, more diagnoses and wanting to update friends and family as to how we were doing brought me to blogging.

I didn’t realize it until I’d been blogging for a couple of years that blogging became my therapy. While I was meeting people and finding support, I was also finding my voice; my voice as a mother, wife, volunteer and advocate. I often blogged through the issues I was having difficulty processing. When I wrote the words that would become my best posts they were often of me realizing how the Sad Mom was really just a Regular Mom. Yes, more baggage. Yes, more stress and I’d venture to say more expensive and time-consuming, but in the end I was a mom who loved her kids and wanted to fight for them fiercely if needed. So basically the same as all the mothers I knew.
So I cried, fought and celebrated online. Through the devastating news of our son starting emergency dialysis to save his life and what we went through to fight an impossible system to keep our daughter off dialysis and move to transplant preemptively. I can’t say that I was ever prepared for the nearly 2 years that our son was fighting debilitating depression. In a matter of a few months he went from a happy, energetic child after his kidney transplant to one who wanted to kill himself. While we were in the midst of finding the right treatment a blog reader reached out to me because as her younger self she could identify with what my son was going through.
While I certainly think we would have ended up with our son mentally stable, I think the road would have been much harder without having met her. On a particularly hard stretch of days watching him suffer, she reached out to me with maybe the kindest thing anyone has ever said to me. She said that what I was doing was enough, and while my son couldn’t get out of his depression with my love and patience, just the fact that I was witness to his experience and that I kept telling him and showing him we would find a way to reach him, it was enough. She told me he heard me even if he didn’t acknowledge it. She told me when he had rages that lasted hours that he would appreciate us carrying on to the next task, that sometimes he just needed to know that we weren’t falling apart as a family.

Blogging led me to co-found Support for Special Needs, a social network community for parents of kids with special needs as well as the professionals that serve them. The experience of managing a community has been a terrific way to give back but honestly, I get so much support and knowledge from other people. I’m so proud to have been a part of building it and I hope it continues to grow.
In short (well, maybe not so short), blogging has brought me support and information to get through a maze of special needs parenting, but it’s also helped me find myself. Blogging, in a lot of ways, helped me figure out the kind of woman I wanted to be in this phase of my life and I am so grateful.

Julia Roberts married into the name. In case you didn’t know, (the famous) Julia Roberts will not call your establishment to make her own tire rotation appointment or to argue about her cell phone charges. To make matters worse, this Julia Roberts husband’s name is Julian. They own a marketing firm together. They know. It’s a bit much for them, too. A geneticist’s dream, they produced two cute kids with a rare syndrome that includes a vision disorder and a crazy kidney disease; resulting in weirdly moving eyes and kidney transplants for both at age of 8. She’d like to dispel the myth that they are heroic; they talk about their kids’ poop just like the rest of you mere mortals.

Julia speaks to groups on topics about navigating life as a special needs family. She blogs at Kidneys and Eyes and created a social networking site for special needs families, Support for Special Needs with friend/writer/blogger Dawn Friedman and she helps her daughter with her blog, at I Wanted a Blog. You can find her on twitter as @juliaroberts1 and @supportSN.

Song of the Week ~ Officially Missing You by Tamia

This has been a week and I truly consider myself blessed to have made it through. I lost a friend this week to gunfire. I know that random killings seem to be an urban problem but I am so sick of loosing friends at the stray end of a bullet. This event has really caused me to reflect on my past, my future and of course living my very best life in the present!

This song is dedicated to loves lost and memories that lead me to the love that I have found! I’m officially missing you Kiese – REST IN PEACE “LITTLE BRO”

Song of the Week — I Hear The Sound (of Victory)

This song has been my morning battle-cry these past few months. Although challenges have been many my praise and GOD’s mercy has been greater! I’m still standing and guided by FAITH!

I hear the sound of victory
I know that things are gonna change for me
I make the sound everywhere I go
And I share the sound with everyone I know
And because of His blood I overcome
I don’t have to fight,
It’s already won
And with every step I take it’s getting closer, closer
And the louder it gets, the louder I pray The more intense, the more I pray
And the harder it gets, the harder I pray I know my victory is on the way and it’s in my praise …

SPOTLIGHT CORNER — Sharon DV “How Has Blogging Changed Me”

This week in my SPOTLIGHT CORNER, I am so very proud to welcome Sharon De Vellis of the YummyMummyClub and Speed Skating Mom. Sharon is truly a woman of courage that inspires me daily and helps me to look at my life’s challenges and figure out how to face them and turn sour lemons into lemonade. I often find myself asking ~ “What would Sharon do?” Especially when I need to summon up my courage. I am in awe of her. Please take a moment and read Sharon’s story of how blogging had an impact on her life.

How Has Blogging Changed Me?

At first I really couldn’t think of how to answer this question because, in truth, I didn’t feel it had changed me.

Since I was a kid I liked to talk – my childhood nickname was motor mouth. Blogging to me was just another form of blathering on to my friends and family only with a bigger audience.

Actually, that’s a lie because when I first started blogging the only audience I had were my friends and family.

It was a way to express myself. I wanted to write honestly about my parenting experience, which some days completely sucked because it’s not all sunshine and roses when you’re mom. Something I was completely unaware of when I became one. My goal at the time was that if I could make even one mother feel better about her parenting, then I’d be happy. I’ve seen moms who have burnt out striving to be the perfect parent which is completely unattainable because what the hell is perfect anyway? In the dictionary it’s defined as:

Perfect (verb): Make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.

Making something completely free from faults or defects. That right there is called ‘setting yourself up for failure’. What if instead of focusing on perfect, we all decided to be the steady turtle in the race and strove to be good parents who have great moments? Imagine if being good was good enough?

I’ve been blogging now for 4 ½ years, beginning with a blog that’s now defunct. Next up was my Inside Scoop Blog at the Yummy Mummy Club. This past year has seen the addition of Speed Skating Mom where I document how I decided to take up short track speed skating at the age of 41. For the record, I’m knock-kneed, pigeon-toed and pronate. It’s not pretty.

If there is one thing I could go back and change it’s that I wish I hadn’t used my boys’ names when I began to blog. It’s the old adage “start as you wish to continue”. When I first began, my boys were young and without giving it much thought, I used their names freely. But as they got older I realized I needed to respect their privacy which is why I now only refer to them as Son No. 1 and Son No. 2. This is based on birth order and not who I like best.

But I think what’s changed me the most is that I now have a voice, people that aren’t my family and friends read what I write and with that comes a certain amount of responsibility. Like a super hero only with me wearing yoga pants and having the ability to hear my kids plot against me within a 30 foot radius instead of a cape and x-ray vision. I still write about silly things like how I hate the cold but find myself sitting at an ice rink six times a week or my kids giving me a birthday card with a fat cat on it because it reminded them of me, (I know. WTF?) but underneath the ‘funny’ is a message I’m very passionate about and that’s encouraging moms to go out and make time for themselves.

Often we’re so busy taking care of everyone else we forget to take of ourselves. We get lost in the shuffle and are left feeling depleted. I’ve been that mom and she’s not a fun person.

Blogging through the years has allowed me to see how I’ve grown and evolved as a mother and as a person. It hasn’t been all sunshine and roses and is far from being completely free from faults or defects. But it’s something I can call my own.

And that’s good enough for me.

Sharon DeVellis
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Five Things That Make Me Smile

1. Paris, France ~
Thoughts and memories of Paris always make me smile! The people, the beautiful streets and sites and of course the spirit of creativity that fills the air. There is nothing like Paris! It is someplace that is truly original and it’s diversity, people and gardens just keep inspiring: artists, designers, models, performers and writers alike to envision beyond the ordinary to create the extraordinary,

2. Family & Friends ~
My family and friends are the source of hours of laughter. They inspire and encourage me and they always give a different perspective, which allows me not to take myself so seriously!

3. Forgiveness ~
The grace of forgiveness always makes me smile. Even though I often don’t deserve it, I am so grateful for the gift of forgiveness because it lightens the burdens on heart.

4. Healing (Physically and Mentally) ~
Healing provides heartache a reason to smile. Healing reconnects my soul with the happiness that was lost in painful situations and assures me that GOD is always nearby!

5. Learning ~
I always smile when I learn something new because it usually opens my mind to a new perspective about things. I smile when I learn because learning provides me with an opportunity to grow.

My TRUTH ( a poem) — Just Be Enough post

My truth is linear, robust, profound and heart-wrenching.
My truth is happy, enlightened, a song sweeter than honey.
My truth is all encumbering, soul revealing and pure as snow.
My truth is powerful, direct, in your face, unsettling and amazing grace.
My truth is humbling, all-knowing, fearful, and fearless depending on what day.
My truth is compassionate, giving, and prideful until I was shown how to live the right way.
My truth is magnificent, surreal, and limited to only me.
My truth is mine all alone and no one can speak my truth for me!

Every MONDAY join us…
Write, post, link-up by Wednesday, share your story and your voice.
Be part of carrying the weight of confidence and share our mission
to empower, inspire, and remind women, parents and children
that the time has come to celebrate ourselves!
Next week’s prompt: “Something I do not regret…”
(Remember you can also write on a topic of your choice.)

Spotlight Corner ~ Kate @mommymonologues

Dear Friends,
I’d like you to help me welcome Kate from Mommy Monologues as my first guest in my SPOTLIGHT CORNER. You can find Kate at her blog Mommy Monologues ~ where “Domestication Never looked So Good!” Kate is an awesome young wife and mother that is expecting her second bundle of joy in 2012. The thing I love about Kate is she passionate her faith, marriage, motherhood, and family and it shows in each of her blog posts. Without further due … here’s Kate!

When Sammie asked me to do a guest post & then told me she’d like me to be her first guest poster & write about the influence blogging has had in my life, I thought to myself, “uh-oh, how will I keep this down to one, relatively short post?!”

I started blogging over a year ago, there have been positives & negatives, times when I’ve had to or needed to step back & re-evaluate where I stand on blogging, but the impact it’s had goes without saying.

When I first started blogging, it was all I could think about, what topics to write about & how to make my blog better. I started doing a ton of research trying to figure out what in the heck was this “wordpress” platform, what was a button, what groups should I join?

But mostly, blogging came into my life when I desperately needed to have something of my very own as I learned who I was as a mother. Looking back, I was struggling in first time motherhood. I loved being a mom, but the transition of being a very driven graduate student, to being a stay-at-home mom was a very big adjustment for me.

Blogging helped me to learn about my new self.

With blogging, also came a blog design business & that was amazing. Not only did the money really, really help out, it gave me a sense of purpose. I was so accustomed to having my own paycheck & being able to help out with bills before becoming a mom & then that all changed. Blog designing gave me an identity of feeling important again outside of changing diapers & playing trains, that I was able to contribute to my family, & that I was able to have something that was my very own. And that felt amazing.

Blogging gave me some financial independence.

And last but not least, blogging also has given me some great friends from my blog, to SITS, Theta Mom, Twitter & so much more. My first year of blogging, I exchanged addresses with a friend in Indonesia & she sent me a Christmas card. This year, I have quite a few new addresses to get, that’s for sure!

Blogging gave me a community.

And now? I’m on a break from blog design & writing for that matter (which was accidental), with my second pregnancy came new priorities. I saw that a huge change was coming for my family & that I needed to spend less time focusing on getting posts written, comments replied to, & advertising done. I saw that I needed to spend more with my family before we have this huge adjustment come in the spring.

But blogging, won’t be something I stay away from for long. I still have 50 gajillion moments a day where I think “That’s a great post idea! I have to write it down!”

Blogging has given me a lot, from a sense of identity as a new mom to a great community. The positives have all been well worth it & I wouldn’t change that for anything.

Mom/Blogger/Blog Designer
Mommy Monologues Blog
twitter @MommyMonologues

Work Hours:
I am no longer designing. At this point I am only finishing up projects. If you are looking for a design, please contact Angie at Strosgirl’s Designs or Lynne at Visual Serendipity. Thank you!