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Recap: Quarter 3 Goals Twitter Chat

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All over my Twitter feed, Facebook timeline,and even on Instagram everyone is talking about their Quarter 3 Goals. I decided to join a Twitter chat to get some tips on keeping the momentum going for my own goals. So, I found Create Lounge on Twitter (#createlounge) . It’s a weekly chat for creatives hosted by Douglas Humphries (@Douglas_AmongUs) every Wednesday at 9pm EST. Six questions are asked and Douglas gives some really good tips for you to implement. Take a look:

Question 1: What is your theme for this quarter? It could be a word,a mantra,a direction. Whatever you want to define the next season.

Tip: It can be very inspiring to have a theme or word to set your intention,but it can also be anxiety producing to find just the right one. Don’t stress. Go with what feels good.

As always, the biggest thing to remember is that it’s probably going to change. That’s just life. We plan and then have to let it all unfold before us. This is just step one.

Q2: What’s a business goal you have that you want to complete in Quarter 3?

Tip: It’s easy to want to plan out our whole quarter,or year,and,hey, if you can do that,awesome! But don’t feel like you have to. Some things you just don’t know yet. Again,step 1.

That’s why it’s important to keep our intentions,our CDF’s, our why,in front of us. Once we set our intention then we’ll have the direction we need when we have to make that choice we don’t know about yet.

Q3: What’s a personal goal you have or another way you’d like to expand¬† serious this season?

 

Tip: Remember, goals don’t all have to be business/serious. Creativity is our whole lives, that means what we do for others, for our business/projects,and what we do just for us.

Time management, as always, is an important skill and one we will continue to need. But that means not only making time for our business but for what really matters as well.

Q4: What’s a short term goal you have,say for this month, or even this week?

Tip: Keep in mind, the best way to hit our long term goals is split them up into workable short term steps. Even the smallest goal can lead us to that big dreamt horizon.

Q5: What’s something you could really use this quarter? What’s a way we can help you accomplish your goals?

Tip: Community is the biggest tool we have. It can not only provide encouragement and accountability but inspiration.  When we create together,we foster creativity in each other and ourselves.

Q6: What’s one thing you’d like to end 2018 with that you didn’t start with?

Tip: Dream big people! The more incredible, the better. You wouldn’t believe where you are now a year ago(or even last quarter) why should it be impossible to be where you want to be a year from now?

Great tips,right?! I encourage you all to answer these questions for yourselves and see where you bare in your 2018 goals. I know I definitely have some reconfiguring to do. Join the #createlounge chat Wednesday s at 9pm EST. I will be there!

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Musings on the Age Gap Between My Children

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Last week, my friend and I took the kids to the park. They hadn’t seen each other since school ended 3 weeks ago and I wanted to talk to an adult other than my mom. It was a nice little time despite a couple of get aways and meltdowns by her youngest son, who I adore!

As we were heading out of the park,my friend starts telling me what a difficult time I’m going to have with Amani once Avery comes. I say to her that Amani understands that Avery will require more of my time because he can’t do anything on his own. My friend says” You spoil her with your affection and after the baby,you will be so exhausted from caring for Avery you wont be kissing on her so much. Plus,she is hitting those puberty years and there will be way more attitude from her. Girl, I know what I’m talking about,I have 7 children”

My friend does have seven kids ranging from 2 years old to 20 years old. Which means there are a few age gaps between her oldest ones(17 and 20) and her youngest ones (4 and 2). I thought about how much extra affection I have been showing Amani since telling her about Avery’s arrival. I waa doing that because I want to constantly remind her that she is my firstborn,she holds a special place in my heart,and that I will love her the same no matter how many more children I have. It really broke my heart to consider that she would ever think I don’t live her as much because I have other babies. Im sure my friend was simply trying to prepare me for the reality of the dynamic between Amani and Avery but she just made me scared and sad.

Amani and I have discussed what a healthy sibling relationship is and she has witnessed it between myself and my youngest brother,who is 20 years old. My friend’s comment made me recall qhen I initially told Amani I was pregnant, she waa very upset and cried. It took me some time to convince her that this was a blessing. She is excited now and enjoys hearinf how Avery is developing month by month. She is also looking forward to the gender reveal at the end of the month.

I’m appealing to you,dear readers with more than one child and significant age gaps between children, how do you handle the gap and keep your relationships with the older children healthy? How do you remind your firstborn that they are still important to you?

When I Create With Passionate Loving Action,I Notice…

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My words come with a quickening. O don’t have to think about what I want to say, I just say it. I hate days when I want to write but don’t know what to say. On those days, I sxribble hoping for clarity but nothing happens.

But then,when I doing something else in my day,the words come. That’s frustrating too because my pen is always in another room. Don’t you hate that? But at least I knowy creativity os not gone. Grateful for those ‘AHA’ moments

Forget Me Not

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Forget Me Not

Every now and then, I wake up with a song in my head. This morning it was an old disco song called Forget Me Not. I can’t think of the artist right now but I do love the song. I have no clue why that song is on my mind. It doesnt hold any significant value for me. I not a fan of the flower (it’s blue,right?) I only remember that my father once sent me a birthday card and when I looked at the back of it, the card company was called Forgete Not.

I guess if I’m being honest, I have beem thinking of my dad a lot, especially around Father’s Day. I felt sadness and guilt that I didnt make more of an effort to be in his life. I wrote hom letters but never heard back. When I called, my grandmother would assure me that he received the letters. But why wasn’t he writing me back? I was starting to feel rejected. The purpose of the letters qere to accommodate the fact that he was 90% deaf. So, I stopped sending them.

I had felt rejected a lot by my biological mother and I wasnt going to deal with that with Daddy too. I also stopped calling him after my mom died because I didnt want ro go through the pain of losing another someone I was close too. If I kept my distance, I wouldn’t be hurt twice over by the same person. My mom and I were rebuilding our relationship and then she died. It was awful and I didnt know if I would come back from it. So I guess when it’s all said and done, I’m just an abandoned, rejected, hurt little girl. I think I just figured out why that song popped in my mind thos morning. Maybe to force me to deal with my true feelings about Daddy and maybe to remind me that I do have a holy father thay that won’t ever make me feel rejected or abandoned. I am rejecting and abandoning those negative feelings and giving them to my heavenly Father. What a revelation!

Quarter 1 Wrap Up and Quarter 2 Goals

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I would not have realized it was the end of the quarter of the year if not for my periscope community.Most of my tribe were sharing their accomplishments thus far in 2018 and there goals for the 2nd quarter. Which led me to think about what I have gotten done and want to get done.

Q1 Accomplishments:

  1. revamped look for FB Page, Mommy In Color
  2. decided to open Etsy shop(not officially opened yet) and have named it Harmani Hook’d.
  3. made Periscope heart goal of 500,000 hearts
  4. started looking for new job
  5. started a Periscope series, The First 100

Q2 Goals:

  1. 1.create at least 20 -30 different projects to sell on Harmani Hook’d.
  2. guest post on fellow single mom blog or get a guest blogger to post here
  3. sell at least $500 in product for Harmani Hook’d
  4. start a new job
  5. figure out what to do for my birthday in May
  6. make myself a blogging schedule as well as a crocheting schedule( is that an editorial calendar, I feel like I need one of those?)

I must admit that I am a little anxious about completing some of these goals but I’m going to continue in my faith walk because so far I have been pretty blessed. I would love to hear some of your business goals for Q2! Drop me a line!

A Few Secrets To Succeeding As A Creative Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner

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I recently attended a great webinar hosted by Hilary Rushford,a personal stylistbusiness coach,and founder of Dean Street Society. In this webinar, Hilary gives some tips on how to make your business dreams work for you. I have here the first three and will share the rest soon(TBA)

1) You need a map

Things to consider:

Whats my next map?

How did I learn how to run a business?

How an I learning to scale/take to the next level?

Have I slowed down to learn from an expert so I can speed up and implement?

2)Choose a Business Model as Opposed to A Brand Model

Things to consider:

-Be more inspired by a business model than a brand model

-Make sure understand how the business/person you want to be like makes money

-Know IF the business/person makes money

Q’s To Consider:

What do you need to quit?

-a revenue stream that isnt profitable?

– a revenue that you don’t really love?

– setting your goals and dreams around what someone’s IG life looks like?

-Following a certain person you’re too effected by?

3) The Secret of Your DNA

Know thyself. Understand that who you are needs to be considered in your businessmodel,your schedule,and your team.

Things To Consider

What work rhythms make me happiest?

Prioritize your planning!

For those of you who are entrepreneurs of any kind, what are some of your secrets to success?

How To Build Authority, Influence, and Trust When Nobody Knows You

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I have been working on improving things here at Mommy In Color. To that end, I have been reading a lot of blogs full of tips on how to improve the look, content, and promotion of my blog. I didn’t stop to think about how I can get folks to listen to anything I say. How do I prove I know what I’m talking about? Enter The Pro Blogger Podcast to the rescue.

I enjoy much of the content on the Pro Blogger website,but today was the first time I listened to the podcast. The host, Darren Rowse shares a few tips on becoming a reliable authority when you’re not exactly well know. Here’s what I learned:

1) Being an authority is not just about what you know,but you should also share what you know. Even the Bible speaks about sharing.Beginners, you know a little something something as well. Share it!

2) Don’t just share what you know,talk a little about what you don’t know. Transparency is relatable.

3) Learn in public. Interviews are a good way to show others that you are learning all you can about the field/subject in which you want to be the authority Showing the journey,once again, is relatable.

4) Use case studies. Showing the numbers and proven facts helps you gain credibilty.

5) Show vulnerability. You don’t want to lose your humanity or intimidate the audience into thinking you know it all and never slip or struggle.

6) Share transformations and conversion. People like to hear about the beginning of your journey because it makes them comfortable to know that you were a newbie as well.

7) Have a positive and constructive outlook. It’s okay to talk about when you make mistakes but dont dwell on it. Instead,share how you intend to improve.

8) Build a platform of giving and generosity before asking or promoting. Of course your goal is to profit or gain additional followers but people respond better when there is an offer on the table for them in exchange for what you want from them.

9) Be reliable and consistent. If you put it out there, back it up when you say you will. If you’re telling folks you’re posting 3x a week,or you’re hosting a raffle or giveaway, DO IT!

10) Keep messaging clear and simple. You don’t have to use large words or complicated formulas. Being an authority means making your customer/follower/reader feel smarter,not just you being a smarty pants.K.I.S.S.= Keep It Simple, Sweetie!

11)Use your influence for the benefit of others,not just yourself. What can you do with your power to make things better for those who are loyal to your product or brand?

12) Don’t just seek to be known,liked,or trusted. Let your audience know that you know,like,and trust them as well. Research who they are,what their niche or business is. Tall to them directly. Comment,repost/retweet,respind to questions,and ask questions. Show that you trust them by sharing things about yourself as well.

13) Take your time. Becoming the authority in your field takes time. How much time? That’s up to you and whether or not you’re willing to do the work and have the patience to stick it out.

I hope these tips have helped you because they definitely helped me. Make sure you check out the podcast, Pro Blogger for more tips on blogging and social media. Be blessed and be a blessing, y’all!!!

5 Things I Love About My Cats

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In the two years that I’ve had Tootie and Sanai, I have gotten to know their individual personalities quite well. I love them both fiercely but for different reasons.

Sanai(grey and white, approx 5 years old,breed: unknown)

1. The first time I met Sanai,she hissed at me and I immediately backed off. She hated me from the get go and it’s probably because I mistook her for Tootie. She demanded my respect that first day and put me on notice that she had boundaries. I love her for that.

2. I am a proud thicky thick and so I have a soft spot for Sanai’s girth. She is pretty heavy but she is also solid and carries herself with a bit of a snooty air which has earned her the AKA of The Duchess Sanai

3. On the occasions when Sanai will allow you the honor of touching her, she directs EXACTLY where your hands go. No sudden movements which can earn you a swipe from her lethal claws. But you can rub the sides of her mouth,her neck,and ever so gently tug on her ears. If you think that you’ll get tired and stop, think again. She will use that bulldozer of a head to not-so- gently nudge you back to the task at hand. And once she’s started drooling,you’ll be there for AT LEAST half an hour. I love how she controls love and affection, can easily reject you and then turn it around and become putty in your lap.

4. Her eyes. They are so intimidating in the shadows of the night. They look like two bright soulless orbs watching your every move. During the day,they are an almost transluscent shade of green that suck you right into her world.

5. Her run. When she runs away from approaching feet,it looks almost like a gallop but instead of a dainty noise,it makes a thump. And she has to turn her entire body in the direction she wants to go in(because of her long legs)and then gallop away.

Tootie(all black, approx 3 years old,breed: American Short Hair)

1. Tootie has a very playful and mishievous spirit. Her favorite naughty things to do is pluck the side of the litter box until she gets chased out of the bathroom, throwing up food she’s binged then hiding, jumping on tables,counters,and stoves. When Amani is in school, I still don’t get a break because Tootie is basically a toddler. I love her little girl ways.

2. Tootie is completely free with her affection…as long as you have snacks.She has special affections for my brother and licks his head on his days off from work. She will come when you make kissy noises and shows her love by gently headbutting you and rubbing her face against your cheek. Adorable!

3. She is tough. Tootie recently became sick with carbon monoxide poison and she got so sick that she actually suffered a seizure. She lost a lot of weight,was pretty lethargic and I thought she was going to die. But she fought for her life day by day and even showed her regaining strength by hissing at one of my outdoor cats when he tried to come into the house. In fact, she is very protective of her home and will hiss at all outsiders though she never actually attacks them. She is a feisty girl,just like the other women in our family.

4. She loves to eat. Tootie loves meat but after her illness, I discovered she has a wide range of foods she loves. Some include, ice cream, blue cheese dressing, cream cheese and jelly on a kaiser roll, and grits and cheese.

5. Being an introvert, I can appreciate Tootie’s love of solitude. Amani can sometimes overwhelm her with affection,so to escape she will blend into the nearest shadow she finds. Without a flashlight, she is impossible to find and I love her ability to become invisible.

Two peas in a pod…

We All Fall Down…

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Write about a time you fell down.

When I was 5 years old,I was living in Brooklyn with my foster brother and great aunt. We were well taken care of and life was good. On rare occassions in the Summer, my great aunt would close down her daycare ( she was a Black business owner for 30 years) and take my brother and I to the park. This day we went to Prospect Park. On our way there, we ran into our sometimea baby sitter, Trina. She wasn’t doing anything that day and tagged along.

When we got to the park,my brother took off for the jungle gym and I made a bee line for th slide. Trina followed us to keep an eye on us while my aunt sat down and chatted with a long time girl friend(I forgot to mention she was there as well)

I climb the somewhat intimidating rungs leading to the to top of the slide. As I’m preparing to sit and slide down,a little girl around my age sqyeezes herself next to me. Before I could utter a word of protedt,she knocks me from my seat and I kand with a thud to the pavement. I scream even though I feel no pain at first. Trina, rubs over and helps me up. She looks concerned but not panicked. She knows how clumsy I was prone to be. I relieve ger concern by insisting I’m okay. I feel a small pang in my collarbone but ignore it. I want to go on the see saw immediately to avoid further embarrassment. After looking up to sneer at the jerk who pushed me, I walk to the see saw.

As soon as i put my hands on the handle bars if the see saw, a sharp pain shoots up my right arm and it literally takes my breathe away. I pull my hand off the handle as if it had burned me. That gesture is met witha pain worse than the one before. I cry out and jump off the see saw. Trina is there in a flash asking me what’s wrong while looking around for the culprit she thought was responsible for my outburst. Tears well up in my eyes and I start sobbing uncontrollably. Trina has given up trting to understand my nonsense and leads me to my aunt and her friend.

My aunt jumps up and holds her hand out to me while asking what happened. Between breaths, I tell her that something is very wrong. I motion towards my shoulder with my head,she furrows her brow, looks and puts her hand on her hip. “It’s broken”, she says matter of factly. Before owning a daycare,she was a pediatric nurse for many years. She was known throughout the maternity ward for her distinct…sashay. I cry even harder as we head for the hospital.

I remember the smell of some strong cleaner with a tinge of medicinal something in the air of the hospital.I also recall finding out I had broken my shoulder. But that’s all I remember. The next memories are of the awful hard cast and sling I had to wear for 3 months. After it came off, I had to do rehabilitative exercises that my aunt made sure I did. The worst thing about it was I was a hard core thumb sucker and could not enjoy my precious “lovie” for 3.MONTHS.

That was 23 years ago and the only lasting result of that incident is my permanent crookedness. My right arm droops just a little and that causes my glasses to also appear crooked on my face. Sigh.

My PurposeFULL Life

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I have heard about God my whole life.  My first experiences with the Omnipotent were from my great aunt(Gladys) who played Shirley Caesar incessantly on the weekends. According to family lore, she never went to church because she had a thing about the crosses with Jesus nailed to them that most churches have in the sanctuary. My brother and I owned large King James version bibles. Gladys put our names in them but for the most part they went unused. There was a Bible in the back of the apartment my great aunt used as a daycare facility.  The kids took naps in there. I spent the majority of my time getting locked in there until dinner for some juvenile indiscretion I had committed.

One day, I looked at the Bible on the table and picked it up. I was an avid reader by then so of course I was curious about the most serious of books. It was the heaviest book I ever held,which made it intimidating. I started from the beginning getting confused right after Cain killed Abel. Satan,  to me then, was powerful. He talked someone who had the literal definition of “heaven on Earth” into doing something that damned her forever. Wow.

Miss Gladys was having none of that when I presented my thoughts on Satan. She explained (read:damned me to Hell) that Satan was bad,not powerful.  She also said she wasnt surprised  I had a rebellious streak “seeing how your mother is” she said. I didnt understand:According to the Bible(Ezekiel 28:12-19) Satan was the most cherished of God’s angels. Surely God has given him great power. But, as a child, I let it go. After, I moved in with my mother’s sister at six years old,God took on a different meaning.My aunt(now my adoptive mother) grew up in a family where her grandmother and a grandfather owned a church. They attended church all the time but as adults she( as well as her 4 other siblings) stopped attending church and went to gospel shows.

Gospel shows are concerts with different gospel artists and groups performing their hits and new music(which is sold outside the venue). The first one I went to was so much fun. The music was loud, everyone looked Sunday morning sharp, and there was a beautiful  feeling of camaraderie.  People shouted or cried, depending on how the Spirit or music moved them to do so. I was hooked on gospel shows as was my mom. She had a book filled with professional shots of her favorite groups or artists. After the shows, while the artists mingled with the audience, my mom went around collecting autographs and taking pictures.  I would follow her around excited to meet people I viewed as celebrities. I even saw the gospel artist standard of past generations, Shirley Caesar,in person. I was awestruck to see my dearly departed great aunt’s idol a few feet in front of me. I was dumbfounded when she sat IN my mom’s lap. My mom was sitting next to me,Ms. Caesar serenades my mom,puts her arm around my mom’s shoulder  and sits in her lap never once missing a note. Great memories. Did I mention we never went to church unless there was a gospel show there. Oh, and the 2 Easters…3,once I was baptized at 17.

As my brother and I became teenagers my mom worked a lot more and we were left to our own devices.  The gospel shows stopped mostly because the NY promoters went down south and took the talent with them . We were left in the care of a pretty capable special needs aunt that lived with us while Mom worked overnight shifts as a home health aide. My brothers and I were never too much trouble and made our own fun. We had no social activities,though I tried desperately to be more involved in some only to be curbed by my mom’s overprotective nature. So, I settled for books and being an invisible nerd. When I was  17,my mom finds God again. She impulsively takes my brother and I down to a church that she’s been obsessed with for years and decides we are to be baptized. Everything in me screamed that I wasn’t ready and I didn’t want to do it but to say that would incur my mothers wrath until I left for college. So I was baptized on July 6,2006.

My life changed quite a bit after that. My mother became super religious and immersed in the culture of church. She would pray for hours,constantly speaking in tongues.  I admired her fervor for God. I became closer to her in a way when I received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I felt peaceful and happy.  My friends were supportive and everything was  good. But I noticed that my mom started thinking that every opposition against her was to be ignored and blamed on the Devil.It got so I couldn’t talk to her mother to daughter. All her wrong doings against us were somehow forgiven under a twisted interpretation of the Word. We spent every evening for months in church coming home late,grades failing for homework not getting done. And when I would approach mom about it,it was dismissed with a “nothing else matters but church” and “Stop letting the Devil use you”. I was starting to resent church…and God.

I noticed how there seemed to be a hierarchy among parishioners. There were two sisters in particular who judged the hem length of every woman who walked into the sanctuary.  Talking about side eye! Can’t nobody side eye like a church sister. The bishop openly condemned men in the church with long hair. That message seemed so opposite of “Come as you are”, but ok Bishop.

Between the gossipy judgemental church folk and my mother abandoning everything else for church, I was turned off. I started hanging around my daughter’s father while still attending church here and there. Soon I became pregnant. I stopped going to church all together  and barely graduated high school. I knew God was punishing me for going astray because I was getting verbally abused, almost daily, by an aunt I moved in with. (My mom and I had had a particularly  nasty fight and it was decided we should be apart for awhile). The abuse happened during and after the birth of my child. But I deserved it for lying, getting pregnant, fornicating,etc…

But God is MERCIFUL and 3 months after Amani was born, my mom and I were reunited,we settled some things, and I even went back to church with both her and my newborn.

I received the chilliest reception when I walked in the church when I walked in the church with a baby in my arms.  The sister who had helped me seek the Holy Ghost pretended not to notice me when my mother pointed me out to her. Instead she greeted my brother whom she affectionately call her “pot of gold”. The teenagers from my youth group never spoke to me and when I cornered one og them outside he looked like he would drop dead if anyone caught us talking. I felt like a complete disappointment. I couldn’t wait to get out of there but my mom was so happy to show everyone that we had reconciled. But I just thought the shunning was more punishment.  I faked the funk and when service was over, I never went back. I vowed I never would.

That was ten years ago. Today, I am seeking a change in my life. This is the year of change and for me it starts with a change in perception and spirit. The last 40 days have forced me to dig up the ugliness of the past sins and hurts and take from them the lessons that were intended to be learned.  The truth of the matter is this,I have an issue with intimacy. Not sex, intimacy.  My family was never affectionate or talked about feelings and I was starved of it then so I crave it now. The enemy knows this and has, for many years amd in many ways given me illusions of it. But now I have intimacy and closeness in God.

He blessed me with a small community of people to lean on and gain support from solving my intimacy issue. He gave me two beautiful cats to cuddle and kiss and hold,solving my affection issue. He gave me Amani, a child that  he has entrusted to me to guide to Him. A child who He’s already given a thirst for Him to.

All of the worry that I weigh myself down with has disappeared. Yes, I still panic a little when things fall apart. There is still a momentary lapse in my breathing when my plans go wrong,but then I breathe easier when I remember that God has something better for me, I must be mature enough to receive it and for that I must be tested. I think my story of adoption and teen parenthood is going to serve many others. As a matter of fact, I think the very church that rejected me will be asking me to serve the young women of the church. Or maybe writing the newsletter. Whatever He has for me,big or small,forefront or behind the scenes, I am ready to walk and serve in my purpose.