Song of the Week ~ Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Ah, I remember a time when my life was so much simpler. ;I dreamed of being a writer in living in Paris. ;Drunken nights after hours of dancing with my friends. ;Learning about life according to my schedule. ;Absorbing beautiful rays of sun and living life and having fun!

This song came out in 1983 when I was in high school. ;I danced with abandon whenever I heard Cyndi squeal, “They just wanna, they just wanna!” ;Well its 29 years later and I am claiming this as my anthem for the week. ;CHANGE IS COMING I can feel it and I am gonna live each day as if it was my last!

LYRICS:

I come home in the morning light
My mother says when you gonna live your life right
Oh mother dear we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

The phone rings in the middle of the night
My father yells what you gonna do with your life
Oh daddy dear you know you’re still number one
But girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have

That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Girls – they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

Some boys take a beautiful girl
And hide her away from the rest of the world
I want to be the one to walk in the sun
Oh girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have

That’s all they really want
Some fun
When the working day is done
Girls – they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun,
They want to have fun,
They want to have fun

The NEW Things I Like About Me ~ Just Be Enough

On Valentine’s Day I made a point to send love to myself! I compiled a list of things that I love about me the day before Valentine’s day and scheduled a post. Well here it is just two short weeks later and Just Be Enough asked us to come up with a new list of tThings I Like About Me

I am going to confess something, I really thought that I was gonna be stumped. But the past week and a half has certainly given me plenty to add to my list!

The list that I am revealing now is full of breaking news that has pushed me in ways that a year ago were unimaginable for me. My PTSD and Anxiety are under control and I am ready for the world.

1. I am funny! ~ On Valentine’s Day while the world was exchanging cards flowers and chocolates, I received the news that my doctor suspects that I may have uterine cancer because of the formation of cells in my uterus. My response included a hearty laugh and then I said, “Then let’s cut that shit out! I don’t need it anyway.” See, I’ve been here and done this before with cancer and I’m gonna laugh until I have to cry!

2. I do not crumble (or at least not for long). ~ I keep my head in the game regardless of my task. So I called and scheduled the two appointments my doctor recommended: the first was for a 3D Ultrasound and the second was for a biopsy.

3. I am quick to respond. ~ I set up my 3D Ultrasound and had it the very next day and my biopsy is scheduled for March 7th. I informed my husband, family and my bible study group that the monster known as cancer was trying to rear its ugly head again and I let them know I AM PLANNING TO BEAT ITS BUTT!

4. I am determined! ~ I will fight with every fiber of my being to beat this thing and I will not give cancer any of my negative attention. Cancer has already stolen a family member (Rich) and online friend (Susan) from me in 2012 and I am determined that I will not be next!

5. I am more than cancer ~ Cancer does not define who I am and if it is back it will not define who I will become. I am a wife, mother, friend, advocate for special needs families and cancer recovery and I AM MORE THAN ENOUGH!

What are your things? What do you love about you?

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Gratitude Journal #5 ~ My Parents

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I just want to share how grateful I am to my parents. I am quite sure that my parenting skills come from being raised by caring dedicated parents. Sure we didn’t always see eye to eye and of course we did things that were disappointing to each other but in the larger scheme of things we lived, learned and learned how to adapt to to each others needs.

Now I am a parent and I am truly grateful of all of the things that my parents sacrificed for me.

Love,

Sammie

Reflection ~ Chris Brown (F.A.M.E.)

I remember the night of the 2009 Grammy Awards vividly! News broke that Chris Brown, the nineteen year-old teen heart-throb, the Upcoming Prince of Pop, heir to the King of Pops apparent throne had been arrested for physically assaulting his then girlfriend Pop Princess Rihanna. I was shocked. I shook my head in disbelief as more details were revealed. It all suddenly became very real when TMZ.com released the photo of Rihanna’s badly beaten face. I could no longer deny that this had occurred. I took a stand — and I will always take a stand against domestic violence! As the police reports were released and after Rihanna did her interview with Diane Sawyer, I felt a softening in my heart for Chris Brown. It surprised even me! But after Rihanna admitted that she hit Chris first, I just felt sorry for both of them.

Better Days

I felt sorry that they were too young and inexperienced in their love to talk and work things out. I felt sorry for them because of the sheltered existence that allowed BOTH of them to act out in inappropriate ways that caused irreparable harm to both of them. I felt sorry that Rihanna had been beaten. I felt sorry that the rising star that Chris had been riding was now tainted and he was now “untouchable!”

Time of course passed and these star-crossed lovers let the dust settle as the judge in the case made her decision for Chris’ sentencing. Community Service and anger management was the penance that he was told to serve and he did so in the allotted time and manner as was prescribed by the judge. Rihanna went forward with the love and support of her peers in the industry and her fans, while Chris continued to be ostracized and ridiculed at every turn.

People questioned his remorse, people questioned his regrets and people even questioned his manhood. What they failed to remember was this boy became a man without the guidance of a father. This boy became a man after watching his own mother being abused and suffering from domestic violence. This boy became a man of “means” after being a boy who came from nothing. This boy became a man in the world of entertainment — where nothing is as it appears. His “friends” deserted him, the people who gave him accolades suddenly refused his calls. He knew he had done wrong, but all he could do was try to grow from it and press forward with his music.

I remember when Chris’ latest CD F.A.M.E. (Forgiving All My Enemies) came out. I was excited for him. I wanted to hear about the things he had learned. I was glad he had time to reflect on his life, his choices, and his “friendships.” His music matured, the lyrics were certainly more sexually explicit and less bubble gum. He had changed, he was embarrassed and remorseful about what had happened but what was crystal clear, people where not ready to hear from him. It is three years later and people still aren’t.

I have to state that, “I do not condone Chris’ actions in beating Rihanna, but I do not believe that this particular action defines who he is and who he shall ever be.” I know that I will lose readers at this juncture, but I encourage you to continue reading.

F.A.M.E. to me, is a call for all of us to really look at what it means to FORGIVE! I realize that this is a difficult task for all of us. No one wants to condone domestic abuse. We know it is not right for guys to hit girls, we also know girls should not hit boys and we all learned that in kindergarten. No one wants to excuse Chris Brown for this assault, but I find it interesting how many other celebrities have not received this type of backlash after a domestic violence issue. Jackson Brown, James Brown, James Taylor, Wesley Snipes and a host full of other celebrities have never seen the likes of other celebrities condemning them, like Miranda Lambert has done towards Chris Brown since the 2012 Grammy’s. The only exception that I can think of was Ike Turner!

Miranda Lambert’s dismay that Chris Brown performed twice at the Grammy’s this year and won two Grammy’s was not an isolated reaction, her’s was just one of the most verbal. Twitter was all a buzz with Chris Brown haters. Domestic Violence haters. Friends began threatening to unfollow each other and in the midst of this three-hour show, something stopped me dead in my tracks! There was a tweet sent out from the Huffington Post from 25 different women, which stated in no uncertain terms that Chris Brown would be welcome to “beat” them as long as these women could be his girlfriend. Yes, you read that correctly! There were young women, whose self-esteem and self-worth is that low that they were willing to broadcast that they would be willing to accept such horrible treatment at the hands of a superstar.

As the parent of a tween aged girl, I found this to be shocking. What are we teaching our girls? Why would this be acceptable? Is the fact that he has “gotten away” with this given young girls and women the ideology that domestic violence is okay? This certainly gives us reason to pause and think about our own reactions to domestic violence, the way we condemn abusers, the way victims are perceived, the way that the law punishes them, and the standards and tolerance that our society holds abusers accountable.

It would be great if both of them put forth a positive message about the pitfalls of being young and in love. It would be great if Chris would talk to young men and tell them that they have an alternative to using their hands. It would be great if Rihanna would tell young girls and women, that sometimes love just ain’t enough and encourage them to feel better about themselves and walk away because love is not supposed to bring them injury or physical harm. They could both be great role models by speaking out about domestic violence, but the public relations machine that makes them their money has advised them both to do otherwise in order to keep the money coming in. Only GOD knows what their future holds, but the aftermath of their relationship has had a great effect on our youth according to the non-profit called Futures Without Violence (formerly known as the Family Violence Prevention Fund), according to their website, “1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, kicked, slapped or physically hurt by a partner.”

Chris Brown is a young, talented man who is trying to go forward with his life as is Rihanna and apparently they have found it in their hearts to forgive each other and if they can do that and it truly appears that they both have, then who are we to still judge them!!! As they continue their musical journey this week with the release of two songs that they have released together. One of the two songs (Birthday Cake) is already controversial because of its lyrics and intimate nature.

I can only hope that this will be a peaceful journey for both of them and that they have learned the hard lessons of their youth. It’s their business and as public figures it is now our business. We have the power to speak out against what we believe is wrong but we are not the ultimate judge! GOD is the only judge that matters and GOD is the only one that truly knows both of their hearts. So the next time you begin to spew hatred about an incident that took place three years ago, please take a moment and think about what your own life was like three years ago and how it has changed. Think about a time in your life when you did something that you regretted and think about how hard you worked to overcome that situation. Think of all the people who embraced you at that time and think of all the people who went out of their way to remind to just how terrible you were because of what you did. As you remember that time, I hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive him — not forget what he did, but forgive him. He has already professed his forgiveness for you publicly!

Don’t you think it’s time for us to forgive all our enemies? Let the debate begin!

Song Of The Week ~ STAND by Donnie McClurkin

I wrote a post about Whitney Houston last week and I believed it would serve as my final farewell.  But one of my favorite gospel singers sang a song that was so appropriate as a farewell to Whitney Houston.

Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s lyrics truly saved me at at time in my life when I felt all hope was gone when my life was at its most difficult and all the lies I told myself to try and cope with being raped rapidly began to unravel.  Pastor Donnie McClurkin was raped at the age of eight by his uncle, his family was ravaged by domestic violence and drug abuse, but he went on to do great work to help people with healing their lives.  I found strength in these words and it reinforced what I knew in my heart but couldn’t reconcile in my head — “You just stand when there’s nothing left to do. You just stand, watch the Lord see you through.  Yes, after you done all you can, you just stand!”

Whitney Houston’s life was full of ups and downs just like everybody else’s, her down period was more notable than most but she stood and held onto her roots and her love of GOD.  There s a lesson for me in this song.  There was a lesson for her in this song.  Sometime in your life there may even be a lesson for you because after you’ve done all you can — you just STAND!

STAND ~ Lyrics

What do you do when you’ve done all you can

And it seems like it’s never enough?

And what do you say when your friends turn away

And you’re all alone, alone?

Tell me, what do you give when you’ve given your all

And it seems like you can’t make it through?
Well you just stand when there’s nothing left to do

You just stand, watch the Lord see you through

Yes, after you done all you can, you just stand
Tell me, how do you handle the guilt of your past?

Tell me, how do you deal with the shame?

And how can you smile while your heart has been broken

And filled with pain, filled with pain?

Tell me what do you give when you’ve given your all

Seems like you can’t make it through?
Child, you just stand when there’s nothing left to do

You just stand, watch the Lord see you through

Yes, after you’ve done all you can, you just stand

Stand and be sure

Be not entangled in that bondage again

You just stand, and endure

God has a purpose, yes, god has a plan!

Gratitude Journal #4

* I am a few days late posting due to a scheduling error on my part.

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This week I am grateful for my friends. The ones that hold me up when I’m falling down. The ones that babysit my kids when I need a break. The ones that drive with me to Napa to pick up wine from Wine Shop At Home Headquarters for a party that got cancelled at the last minute. But they don’t complain and appreciate the time that we are spending together. I appreciate the friend that helps edit my book and keep me prodding along on the path to finish it because her insight and expertise keeps me on my toes.

I am grateful to the friends that help me take my kids to and from their soccer, basketball and baseball games. I am grateful for the friends that helped us move and get settled into our new house. I am so grateful to them and all that they do because they support me and my family in such valuable ways that merely saying thank you is not enough!

I am grateful to have such a great group of people to call friends and “family.”

Sending My Love To You (Did I mention this is a list of things I love about me?)

A girlfriend of mine (She-She) asked me to write five things that I love about myself and I decided to publish it as a reminder to myself of just how many ways that I am loved and I am a reflection of self-love for my children and friends:

Dear Me,

Here is the things that I love about me:

1.  My Faith in GOD ~ I am faithful to GOD and his plan for my life.  It has not been easy to follow or accept GOD’s plan but it has always guided me down the appropriate road for my benefit.

2.  My Open Heart ~ I love my open heart.  So many things have happened that could have easily made me harden my heart but I didn’t allow it to close me off from people or to close my heart to new people, places or experiences.

3.  My Determination ~ To look into myself and discover and unravel all of the layers of me. The un-perfect layers that have melted together to become the me that I am today, in spite of the me that I was yesterday.  My determination to review my life with accepting eyes and through a lens that allows for human errors, human tragedy and self-acceptance has been the key to living a healthy life with PTSD for me.  Sure, I still stumble and fall from time to time — but I do not collapse like I previously used to when situations occur that trigger my PTSD.

4.  My Willingness to Help Others ~ I take pleasure in helping others.  I have been so blessed by the people who have helped me in all aspects of my life and I know it is a privilege to help others!

5.  My Creativity ~ I truly know how to make lemonade when lemons are thrown at me.   Lemonade is my way of making the best out of unpleasant circumstances, it’s a way of stretching resources and getting positive/negative energy out of me.  My creativity helps me express myself in ways that I may never verbalize.  I quilt to tell a story with fabric.  I write to vent, to tell my truth, to tell how I desire something to be and to help others that may struggle as I have struggled.

This exercise took me about 1 hour to write.  It is very short but I honestly struggled to think of things I love about me, mostly because I have never been encouraged to make such a proclamation.  This my Valentine’s Day gift to myself.  This my proclamation of self-love!  If you are reading this and you have never done this before I highly encourage you to do so!

Here is your challenge:

Name five things that you love about you!

Write it down, shout it out to the world, toot your own horn, because if you don’t who will?

Love,

Sammie

Song of the Week ~ The Greatest Love Of All by Whitney Houston

I am sure that the song of the week will touch your heart just as the life and times of Whitney Houston has touched the lives of Americans and dare I say the world. THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL has become an anthem for children’s graduations and weddings because the sentiment of the song is so simple. Her love of children, family and friends was evident as she sang this song and that is just one of many reasons I chose this song.

In a world full of joy, pain, love and loss — there was Whitney. She was the songstress whose melodies were the soundtrack of my life. I grew up looking at Whitney as she graced the cover of SEVENTEEN Magazine as the first African-American to occupy the cover by herself. I LOOKED TO YOU, Whitney to be my role model of beauty. Your beauty was not the beauty that was projected in the media for young girls. Your short curly hair and big wide smile taught me about self-acceptance.

When she sang, I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY my heart leapt for joy and I joined the Soul Train line and waited to strut my stuff for my special guy. I’d get SO EMOTIONAL whenever I’d hear one of your new songs on the radio. I asked myself HOW WILL I KNOW? if he really loves me as a teenager in love and Whitney made that alright for me. Her voice and success laid the foundation for Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Destiny’s Child, Britteny Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott and a litany of other women who joined the musical ranks.

Whitney’s rendition of I’M EVERY WOMAN became the anthem of womanhood and women of every race joined and sang along with her as we celebrated her pregnancy with her. Her sultry vocals transcended race, class and politics. Her message was carefully crafted and universal and it became clear that WHEN YOU BELIEVE miracles truly did happen. Her Olympic Anthem, ONE MOMENT IN TIME captured the world, as did her version of STAR SPANGLED BANNER. Whitney’s solo work and musical collaborations continue to be favorites world-wide. Just days before her death she shared the stage with Kelly Price and sang JESUS LOVES ME, that would be her final public performance and what an appropriate song this is to have ended her storied career with.

A few of my favorites that held me together through a really terrible break-up were:
SAVING ALL MY LOVE FOR YOU,
HEARTBREAK HOTEL,
DON’T WALK AWAY FROM ME, and
WHY DOES IT HURT SO BAD?

I will not reflect on Whitney’s personal demons because it is not how I chose to reflect on her life. We all have our crosses to bear her’s was addiction and it is not my right to judge her. I conclude by saying I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU Whitney Houston and I thank you for the influence and contributions that your music has had on my life.

MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE,

Sammie

Gratitude Journal #3 for Dr. Susan Niebur

I wrote Curt Niebur a letter by hand this morning. Yes, Curt is Susan’s husband, so that affectionately makes him whydaddy by default. I had to write him and tell him how blessed I felt that I had the privilege of knowing his wife. Susan died on Monday, February 6, 2012 at the same time as I was burying my “son” Rich. I am comforted in knowing that he was there to great her when she passed.

My words are probably of little comfort to him today, but I hope that one day he will realize that Susan’s life reached thousands of people, dare I say hundreds of thousands of people. Her thoughts and experiences reached and touched people that never had the courage to write her but devoured her every word. Her life had purpose and impact on her family, community, cancer community and of course the blogosphere.

Those of us that did reach out to the heavenly star we knew as Susan, were received warmly, in spite of her daily suffering and pain. She braved a smile for us, she comforted us, she informed us and she lived for all of us. She inspired me in my everyday life and my writing (http://mommagazine.ca/Articles/SammiLove/15Waystohelp.htm) and I often made reference to her and I’d Tweet a Diet Coke toast to her during her treatments. She was a FIGHTER! She was a FRIEND! She was the best and brightest color of the rainbow (PURPLE) and she certainly lights the night as one of heavens brightest stars!

I am grateful for your life, your work, your support, your friendship and you will truly be missed Susan. But you will live on in the sky and forever in my heart!

Love you to infinity and beyond,
Sammie

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Rest In Heaven Among the Stars

Reflection on Happiness

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
Dalai Lama

Happiness is not a fleeting moment that can be captured in a mason’s jar. Happiness is a conscious choice. I believe that to be the case. It’s kind of like mind over matter. I say this after experiencing some of the best and worse times in my life.

As I sit here enjoying yet another day, which will be filled with blessings, I reflect on the choice that I am making to be happy, regardless of the bumps and bruises that I will encounter today. I am cognizant that I am making this choice without the aid of the anti-anxiety medication that I have used for the past six months to help me deal with PTSD and frankly I am okay with that!

Today I choose to be happy. Yes, I said CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY! I choose to be happy because happiness is really my choice. I can choose to dwell on the negative or positive things in my life and right now I am choosing happiness!

There have been so many negative and bad things going on lately but they can not be allowed to outweigh the good and positive things that continue to surround me and bring me joy. I read a brief about the Happiness Project book and I have to admit I was truly inspired to put it into practice in my daily life. So without further adieu:

My Twelve Personal Commandments of Happiness

1. Let it go! (The bitterness of the past arguments, fights and life’s disappointments will only continue to cause problems in the future if I don’t let go of my anger, bitterness and resentment.)

2. Do it now. (There is no time like the present. If I don’t do it, I can’t count on anyone else to do it!)

3. Doing something everyday just for me. (It’s important to take care of my own needs especially since I spend my days taking care of so many other people’s needs — especially my children’s needs first.)

4. Treating others as I desire to be treated. (This really requires me to reflect on item number one so that I can react to people differently.)

5. Enjoying the process. (Too many times I am over-scheduled with too many things that I don’t want to do but I am required to do because of the kids activities. I know I should enjoy things more especially when I see that my kids are enjoying it. I need to take time to remember it’s not always about the end results it’s the process of getting there as well.)

6. Being more open with others. (No longer hiding behind my kids, insecurities to inform others that I can’t participate in things due to lack of money. My family is not the only family dealing with an economic crisis. Sharing my true and honest feelings about things instead of withdrawing from friends and loved ones.)

7. Purging. (Ridding myself of the clutter in my mind, heart, body, closet and house. Things bog me down. Be it purging the things in my mind: ie.. fears, doubts, anger, confusion, desires. Be it purging the things in my home ie… the clutter of holding on to things that are no longer relevant in my life. Purging “things” that create confusion is now a necessity that must go high up on my list of things to do. When there is too much of everything and that feeling of utter confusion occurs, I know it is time to purge because if I don’t it will lead to chaos. Nothing more needs to be said about that.)

8. Venture out into new pastures. (Trying new things, new foods, new friends, immersing into new cultures. Develop a new skill set, try a new job, volunteer for something that will allow me to learn something new.)

9. Decide to have it ALL! (Stop selling my hopes and dreams short and settling for less than I deserve by making the decision to say, “I can’t do that.” I can do anything that I put my mind into figuring out. However, I can’t do it all at one time and I must discern the difference. There will be times in my life where I can dedicate some time and energy to being the best at something else. I need to stop feeling like, if I’m tied up with one thing right now that it means I can’t do specific things. I just need to be patient and know my time is not GOD’s time!)

10. Conquering my fears. (Accepting the unknown and understanding that whatever happens is the way that it was supposed to be.)

11. Honoring my temple. (Listening to myself and my body.)

12. Be grateful. (Being grateful in all things at all times for the lessons that I will learn.)

What will your commitment to happiness be in 2012?