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Friday, December 02, 2011

Land, Ho!

<<< Me...jumping out of imaginary boat... kissing proverbial ground intermittently shouting "Oh, Blogspot, how I've missed you!">>>>

-----> fast forward to now...

Oh my goodness, where do I begin? Well, first things first: Hello, dear readers, at least those of you that have stuck around...I'm so happy to be back & please, accept my apology for my absence! (Bear with me, like I've said in the past I like to believe that I have droves of readers waiting anxiously for my next post...lol.. ok, I can dream!)

Back in April I made a bold proclamation of the two challenges I was going to attempt, namely Scriptfrenzy and Napowrimo... a 100 page script AND a poem a day for 30 days... yeah, no. So I failed miserably and was going to post about it when , lo and behold, I got a new job! So, that's where I've been since April...

That's there where I've been...the what has been a bit more exciting than that...

Well, let's see...if you follow my page on Facebook you would know that I have been a busy beaver in the studio. I did an art show one day during the summer and sold some jewelry and smaller art pieces, which, in my book, is a huge success. My work also created a "buzz" so I'm looking forward to doing more. I have also been working on a new line of handmade mini-journals... haven't given them a name yet been thinking "Journey Books" or something along those lines since they are too small to be used as a daily journal, but just big enough to put a pile of memories of an event(or a few)into the pockets.

As for my job, for the longest it was very "hush hush" and although, it's semi-public now, for legal reasons,I can't mention it here -BUT! I can tell you I enjoy it very much. What I can tell you is I am a Beauty consultant...right up my alley, eh? In October, I even got a trip to NYC and stayed at the lovely Nolitan hotel in Nolita! (pics to come)

I haven't been able to post all this juicy stuff because a) I've been quite busy, as you can see and b) I haven't had internet at the house(long story) & for the longest I couldn't get on here during my down time at work. Today I decided to try it on a whim and tada!! Here it is, and there you are and here I am...and I am lovin' it!

I've got to go for now, but please know I will be back soon with blog posts, poetry, art and more...

Till then...
Be blessed!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Double-whammy!

Ok...just because I'm a glutton for punishment and I just can't resist a challenge... I am going to attempt to do, not one, but TWO separate writing challenges this month! (yes, on top of all of the other things on my schedule.

I know, I know, you're probably thinking..shes not going to make it- oh, wait that's me- but I think I can and I am most certainly going to try...

The first of these challenges is ScriptFrenzy, which was already on my "to do" list for this month. 30 days - 100 pages, of script that is. I have a "choreopoem" that I have been wanting to write for years and I want to use this challenge to help me do just that.

The second one is right in line with the first..over at Napowrimo it's 30 days -30 poems...'luckily it doesn't say what length these poems need be...', she says in her best Captain Jack Sparrow voice. It'll be great practice for me and maybe I'll have some new poems to perform, for my book or, maybe, for my stage play(see above)...

So wish me luck, no, wish me blessings... and bear with me - I will be posting a poem a day -- and some, well, may not be as good as others..lol, although I will try to make them worthy of you dear readers.

On that note, I leave you with Poem number one...

(untitled):


So you were the beginning
The first step
of many
but I had no idea
that YOUR step
would be the last one I’d take
with you


As Always...
Be blessed

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Blog Posts

First I'd like to say thank you to all of you that took the time to stop by the Beauty for Ashes website and read the rest of my testimony. Thank you.

{If you are new here or missed it, my testimony and its corresponding will be shown in its entirety on the original post, since the other website only features the testimonies for a month.}

Thank you, again, to Latonya and Beauty for Ashes for sharing.

Also, I did promise to do several pieces in March on "What my kids taught me", but decided to do them at a later date to give full attention to the "Beauty for Ashes" website and the great work shes doing there.

April will be a busy month, but I will posting and keeping you posted...

Be Blessed
and thanks, again

Friday, March 04, 2011

Collaboration: My Testimony @ Beauty for Ashes

As a part of my 90 Day "Lifestyle makeover", one of the resolutions I didn't post was that I will reveal even more of myself...not only for the sake of helping others, but also as a healing process for me.

I have several journals and sketch books, many with a particular theme or "title", if you will. One is called "Freedom's Flow", it's a mix sketches, poetry, and tidbits...actually the first of it's kind for me. I've always been so rigid in the past - sketch books are for sketching - journals are for writing. It was the first time I gave myself permission and freedom to do as I pleased, hence the name "Freedom's Flow". One of my "tidbits" says -- 'In order to be truly free - I must reveal me'.

I've begun the process in private and sometimes here publicly, but this is different. This is about sharing more of who I am so that all that read can see - I am human - just like you - and my experiences make up a great deal of the woman I've become. (& that's good news!)


So here I am.. revealing some more of "me", but this time in partnership with one of my "sisters in Christ". She has her own very lovely website called "Beauty for Ashes" and has chosen this month (my birthday month- yay!)to feature my testimony, both the Poem and the Essay. I will give you a little "teaser" here, but you will have to check out her site to read the rest!


*********

My Testimony - The Essay:

It’s very easy to assume you know something about a person based on the way you see them. It’s a phenomenon we see quite often in the church. The lady dressed in the fancy suit and hat must be very religious, whereas the “hoochie” that just walked in with the tight, short skirt must be a heathen. The Lord says judge nothing before the time and herein lies my testimony…


I was born and raised in New York and I wasn’t raised in the church, at least not as I “do” church, now. I certainly didn’t go every Sunday and the thought of going to church 3 or 4 times a week seemed like an impossibility for me because I thought it was something I would never desire to do. I was raised as a Catholic, so I knew of Christ and I certainly thought I knew God: God was an awesome and amazing power meant to be feared or He would send you straight to hell!


Somehow, even in the midst of the “fear God or else” teachings the church taught me, my mom managed to teach me the one, most important, lesson of my life – when you can trust no one else – trust God! I don’t ever remember her reading the Bible to me, but we had Bibles in the house and I had a special one for myself, full of beautiful pictures and even though I didn’t understand it all…I found God. Problem was I didn’t fear Him – I was too busy being afraid of my mother.


Now before you get the wrong impression of my mom, let me be clear – she is a loving beautiful person and she did her best with the tools she had & she used God, as she knew him then, as her guide. She was raised in an unstable and abusive environment and in most of the places she lived she was abused one way or another. To her I owe my life – she turned her own life around so that we would not have to live as she did. She alienated much of her family in an effort to give us a better chance at life, it was a process, but she did it and she did it to the “Glory of God” long before she even knew what that meant. For her and to her, I am thankful.


Despite the fears and depression growing up, I always felt like God knew me personally and we had a special one on one bond. I just knew I could hear Him talking to me and remember Him always telling me I was meant to BE someone special. I became very adept at daydreaming and escaping from my life through my imagination. In my dreams and inner thoughts I saw myself as God saw me – special and meant for greatness, but no matter how much I believed it in my heart, my outer world reflected a very different view. Sadly, as the years passed I would come to believe this worldly view of myself and my life – not surprisingly, I....

You'll have to read the rest...here:www.beautyforashes1.com

You can find the Poem on the Poetry page...here


Thanks for showing your support by checking out her page. I hope it blesses you...Just you reading it blesses me! Who knows, maybe one day YOU'LL be one of the featured stories -wouldn't that be nice?

While you're there - please stop by her comments page and share some love! I'm sure she'd love to know you stopped by...

As always
Be Blessed!

You may also want to check out the sister blog to this one- The Invitation 101

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"I Love You, Miss Aida"


This is the one of the hardest posts I have ever written...ever. The only one that even comes close was the one I wrote about my daughter "Gigi".

As anyone who is a regular reader of my posts may have guessed or for those of you that already know me - know- I love being a mom and I love my children, even my "adopted" ones(many neighborhood kids call me "Mom").

So with heavy heart I write this post in memory of my daughter Christionne Savone Brown, who the world and I lost on Jan 2, 2009, whose last words to me were "I love you, Miss Aida". I so desperately wanted to tell her to call me "mom" after all, her father and I were going to announce our engagement that evening, but I hesitated, wanting to surprise her later.

She was doll of a little girl and I was so excited to be her mom. I dreamt of late night talks with ALL my girls, I pictured her in a yellow dress at the wedding - just like she liked; a little v-cut and slightly snug at the waist ( we already talked about the clothes she liked and how she'd want to help with picking decorations for the house, "except from Walmart", their selection that year was "just terrible"- I agreed.)

She was my yellow lady bug. I wanted her to be my "sticky frog", mainly because she had tons of energy and was always bouncing around and she loved to hug! I told her my thoughts but she quickly let me know she was no frog! I explained how each of us in the house was some kind of bug -me; the butterfly, Lani; the red Lady bug, Gi; the Dragonfly, Raven; the bumblebee and her little newborn sister was the Firefly, so we HAD to choose something for her, to which she retorted, "pick something else". Ok. We settled on a yellow Lady bug - yellow for her favorite color and the lady bug since she was closet to Meilani. Done.

She was sweet and sassy -I liked that- she was just like one of my own. I was afraid she'd be shy and my girls would over-power her with their larger than life personalities, but no, she held her own lovely. She was certainly no pushover, but she was soft and sweet enough to let most everything roll off her shoulders, a few family meetings showed me that. She spoke, but always only had nice things to say, she was so happy to be a part of our family...it was her first time having sisters, since she was an only child, and she had every intention of enjoying every moment of it!

She smiled...a lot! She always had a smile on her face. Hopping along - singing - laughing - just an angel ...really and just as smart as she was happy...I just knew we were going have great talks.

There are no words I can put on the screen or a piece of paper to express how much I loved her. How I dreamt of being her mom and how I imagined helping her dad to mold her future. How I laid up at night praying and asking God to help me make the right decisions and to help ease the transition for all the girls. Blended families are tough ...add to that a house full of estrogen and - boy oh boy - but yet all the girls seemed to be managing...

The last day I saw her she was on "baby duty", it was her day with her newborn sister (My mom on close watch) she was so proud and excited! I came by later that day to check on them again and they were all in the bedroom together playing video games. In a few short hours we were all going to celebrate Raven's birthday and unbeknown to them, the engagement. It was during that check-in when she said it..."I love you, Miss Aida" - I said 'I love you too" and gave her a big hug...I really wanted to tell her 'call me mom'...its the one thing I regret not saying...

She died later that afternoon...she drowned in the pool - life has not been the same since.

I didn't write this for anyone, but me and her. I'm a writer - we immortalize people through our words - She deserves to be remembered. Today would have been her 12th birthday. I write this because she had a name and she was loved by us all, my family, her family - Even her school had a memorial service for her - she left a huge impact in her too brief life.

In her place there's a gaping hole...

But..She also left me some gifts. Next month, for my birthday, I will share what she and my other girls have taught me...

In the meantime, today I celebrate her and her life, too brief and too short, but I'm grateful! I'm grateful that I was able to be a part of her life, even if for a short time and I'm grateful, grateful I was able to hear her say:

"I love you, Miss Aida!".

Lucky me.
Be blessed.


Raven, Lani, Chrissy & Gigi
Two days before

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bah Humbug!

Ooops..wrong holiday.

wait..here it is -

Happy Thanksgiving! Um...no. (I do that every year!)

Ahh..here it is -- HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!!






OK..I have to admit I was sorta, tempted to keep it "bah..humbug", with me not having a Valentine, again, this year. I'm sure some of you find yourself in the same predicament, but I decided against it. Why? Well, because...

I have long ago come to terms with the fact that being alone doesn't mean being lonely. While having a Valentine is cute and all, I will not succumb to the pressure that I need to have one or that somehow I'm inadequate because I don't.

Truth be told, I'm single on purpose, I've had some "prospects" for the lack of a better term, but maybe I'm not ready or maybe I'm unsure - either way it equates to being on my own and you know what- I've learned to really savor "me time" and enjoy my own company. "Me time" for a single mom is so essential!

So my Valentines, for now, are my girls and my beautiful grand-daughter. I am so utterly in love with each of them, in fact throw in my son-in-law, too-- he's just awesome! So when I really think of it- I don't have a shortage of Valentines.

OK, OK... It's not the same as having my own romantic sweetie trying to woo me - showering me with sweet nothings and gifts and, of course, chocolate! And, flowers! (As a former florist, I mustn't forget the flowers) But as a former florist, I can also see the stress people put on themselves trying desperately to prove to their loved ones how much they love them on this particular day. Of course, it has to be traditional, too... long stemmed RED roses...they must be RED and LONG-STEMMED (for the record long-stemmed roses die faster - ask your florist). Rarely did I see men use their imagination and try something different and I understood why, because on the occasion when I'd have a daring soul - often his wife/girlfriend would be disappointed, or worse, send the flowers back!

Sounding bah humbug-ish? Don't get me wrong - I love Valentine's Day. The hearts, the flowers, the chocolate...oh, the chocolate... Plus my favorite colors - Pink and Red! As a closet romantic, I secretly love all the mushy gushy stuff, too. I guess the part I'm against is the mandatory nature of it and even more I'm against people feeling bad because they don't have someone to "love". Well, not to get too Mother Theresa on you, but I say - FIND someone to love!

Before you walk away, hear me out - why not find another individual feeling like you and share this day together? It doesn't have to be a person of the opposite sex. Just a friend or colleague, a homeless person, even, if you dare. Or you can do what my kids and I did...we agreed that this year they'd be my Valentine and I'd be theirs ...so we baked for each other...


Sure you could be your own best Valentine and shower yourself with lots of presents and enjoy your own company - I do, but there are countless people out there feeling unloved and would enjoy the love of friendship. I read once that if you want love you must first give it away - so go ahead...get to giving...

and if you need someone to send some chocolate to...I like mine dark
I'm just saying...

Be blessed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's Official!



This blog is now available for your Kindle! What exciting news for me and great convenience to those that like to keep everything in their reader. Not to mention- a huge step of faith!

This means that:

A) I will exposed to a larger viewing audience

B) I will have to keep my resolution of at least writing once a week - to keep my readers interested!

I plan to take this new adventure seriously and do my best to encourage uplift and share...

So, if you have a Kindle...please consider subscribing...yes - I do earn a percentage of the cost but I do not set the monthly subscription rate - Amazon does. It's about the cost of one cup of coffee a month from McKie D's - without the caffeine rush, but hopefully, you'll get the spiritual lift!

Your support of this new endeavor would mean so much to me and my family. It's not about the money its about showing my kids and those I people I mentor and teach - that it IS possible to go after your dreams!

As always
Be Blessed!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life on Purpose...


There is a difference between a life with a purpose and a life lived on purpose. Every life has a purpose, but there are those that grab a hold of their purpose and “go boldly forth”. There are those that spend the time searching within themselves and searching the heart of God just to know…Lord what did you create me to do…and then they make it their day to day business to pursue that path and they don’t stop until they get there.

For those that live a life "on purpose" it does not end when they’ve achieved a goal or have seen a vision come to fruition…no they simply seek God once again to find out what the new mission is and possibly their new purpose.

Living a life purpose- full -ly requires flexibility and sacrifice and a willingness to accept change, but most of all it requires determination and unyielding focus. All too often the average person gives up just before accomplishing the very goal they were working to achieve.

However, those that live life on purpose are not average people… they are our leaders, whether it be in the home, the workplace or our places of worship. They are our visionaries and inventors. It is because of them and through them we can see our futures as brighter and worth living.

So let us rejoice EVERY time a person has made the choice to live life on purpose. Let us celebrate their achievements and let us not lament if our choice was not to live purposefully- because its never too late – instead let them be a beacon to the rest of us, a shining light, and example to Go Boldly Forth! and find a purpose of our own!

Good luck on your journey
& Be Blessed


Oh! Check out this video if you need further inspiration: Blind woman Quilter

Friday, January 21, 2011

My 2011 Resolutions: (Cycle one)

To see the original post this post references: click here

OK...I might be dreaming, but in my dreams I believe I have active readers enjoying my posts, but they're just not commenting...(hint hint)& these same faithful readers have been waiting for me to, finally, post my resolutions...(hey, I can dream--it'll happen!)

So just for them...Here they are:

I resolve; with the help of God's Grace...and the power of His Spirit, to follow through on the following resolutions:

I Resolve: (The Tangible)

** To complete a "90 Day Lifestyle Makeover" (my name for it) Remember what I said abut smaller increments? It is my intention to do this 4 times this year.(Dr. Cindy Trimm says: 30 Days is a Habit 60 days is a discipline 90 Days is a Lifestyle, hence why I chose this name and time frame)

** To exercise at least 10-15mins everyday, even if its walking in place "Leslie Sansone style" (don't laugh, it helps)

** To do something creative 30 minutes EVERYDAY, whether it be sewing, crafting, writing poetry, posting on this blog or painting! EVERY DAY!

** To keep myself and my children on a chore schedule so that our home is clean and tidy --everyday

** To post on this blog at least 4x a month

** To completely overhaul my Etsy shop(http://www.latinapheonix.etsy.com) and to add as much inventory as can be shipped

** To be more diligent about writing to my brother and keeping in touch with my family and friends by writing my brother once a month and calling other family members once a month.

** To create a weekly schedule for my kids and I to be able to spend more quality time together and less time disconnected from one another in front of the TV and/or computers

I Resolve: (The Intangible)

** To laugh at least one time every day

** To make someone smile every day-- even if its my own children

** To overcome procrastination by "just doing it" every chance I get and not putting stuff off


These aren't all of them, but these are the main ones... feel free to check up me and my progress. I would still love to hear some of yours...

As always...
Be blessed

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Memories of summer...

With the cold weather upon us...I thought it would be nice to share one of my warmer memories of summer...

(and for my NY friends and family -yes! it gets cold in Florida --especially Jacksonvile...ummm freezing is still cold no matter where you live)


A Summer Day with Just Me and Janae...

every moring Janae and I would go outside and water the garden....


one morning she makes a mad dash outside, with just a diaper on and her Dora umbrella...




so we play for awhile...


and jump in the puddles...



ok time to go...


Janae changes her mind!


She'd rather sit and watch the dog...



Needless to say there are no pictures of me dragging her inside sreaming and crying because she didn't want to come inside and get dressed :-(

Saturday, January 08, 2011

in-VISIBLE-ly Human...




"Hi, my name is Aida and I'm calling from...(a click, then silence)OH??! Man, they just hung up on me..."


I must repeat those lines at least 3 or 4 times a day..you see I'm a telemarketer. OK, before you moan and groan, I don't ask for money or try to sell stuff. It's one of the things I like about my job - I only ask for donations of household discards and old clothing, but this is not a plug for my job or a solicitation for goods, no this is about the down side to my job - rude people.

First some background - yes, I'm college educated and yes, I have owned my own company before so it's not lack of education or skills that have me behind the phones. It's more a matter of circumstance. See, when the economy began its downward turn so did my company, shortly after closing my flower shop I found out I was pregnant, which brings me here. Lack of high paying jobs won't cut the mustard when you have to pay for daycare. I chose a job that would pay me what I needed for now and give me the freedom to be home with my toddler. Maybe not ideal, but I am grateful.

Like I said, I don't sell anything, I'm not a bill -collector, not that I'm advocating being rude to people in this line of work, but as a phone owner myself I can see how people in sales or bill-collecting can press the wrong button or be entirely too pushy. Because of the nature of my job, I can't be pushy - a "no" is a "no"- otherwise you might tell me you have something you don't and it counts against me. If a person says no - I move on.

Daily, I try my best to do my do my job with a smile on my face and with good cheer, but what has prompted me to write this post is that, despite my best efforts, people (and lawdy -their children) can be extremely rude. I can't tell you how many times I've been cussed out, hung up on, prank called, threatened and, unbeknownst to them, brought to tears. Some days are worse than others and thankfully, most days are bearable.

I'm writing because I truly believe that if you like reading my blog - you're a person who cares about the world and the welfare of people and maybe you haven't given much thought about the telemarketers that call your home. Honestly, before I started this job, I didn't think about the person on the other end of the phone line, either. I didn't think that perhaps they're fighting their way through the day, or maybe they hate their job and my rude behavior may not be helping. I have a friend that's a debt collector, knee high in debt herself, she hates what she has to do, but she like the rest of us, has to pay bills and feed her kids, too. Get the connection?

I know many telemarketers can be rude and pushy, but really as you can see from my introduction to this post, sometimes before the words are fully out of my mouth, people are already slamming down the phone. I don't know what the rules are for bill collectors or sales people, maybe they are trained to push, but I'm not and with over 300+ calls to make daily in a short period of time, I welcome the kind person that respectfully requests I take them off the list.(no problem...with pleasure...)

So the next time someone calls your phone, unless it's a machine, try not to just hang-up as a knee-jerk reaction. Try to remember there's a human being on the other end and, please... try to be human, too.

BE blessed

Saturday, January 01, 2011

My Resolve...




It's no secret that I, like many others, have a problem with keeping up with my own New Year's resolutions. Truth is, I gave up making resolutions years ago. I would say my only resolution is 'to do my best'. Noble as it may sound-- it's really a cop out and a resolution that, truthfully, doesn't work. I'll explain why in a minute...

Ok, maybe like me, many of you, my dear readers, fall short of following through with your resolutions and maybe like me you are tempted to give up on the idea of creating any new ones, but before you do let me propose an idea to you...

What if making a resolution isn't as much as setting a goal and achieving it, as it is about the fact that you set the goal in the first place - "setting the pace", if you will, giving you something to aim for - even if you don't complete it, at least you started. That's why my resolution of doing my best doesn't work. It doesn't give me a goal to strive for, it doesn't even give me a reference point-- best? as in, better than what?

I know it can be discouraging to begin a thing and not finish, but if you can just start..just begin - that itself is an achievement. So what if its the same goal year after year (Scripture says "the race is not given to the swift, but to he that endures)just the fact that it's on your mind so much may motivate you one day to actually complete it. Make that resolution so much that you get so tired of seeing it you make the final decision to see it through! You never know it may get addicting and before you know it - you may do it every year!

But...Whoa! Before you going running head first into the new year with every resolution you have ever made in tow...I've compiled a little list of my own that I hope will help you and me, too,to set some realistic goals. I'm also offering to post my own list of resolutions with an invitation to not only track my progress (or lack thereof), but to share yours and so we can encourage and inspire each other. That my friends is a really tall order since I do not like to type, but for those willing to take on the challenge I'm willing to try!

So - as for setting resolutions - may I suggest -

#1 - Start small - yes you may want to lose 50 pounds or reorganize your whole house, but how about if you start with 10 pounds and reorganizing the family room and hall closet. There's no law saying you have to wait until New Year's day to make a resolution, you can always add more resolutions later in the year if you happen to complete the smaller ones.

#2 - Make sure your resolutions are your own and not what you THINK you should be doing - or worse, what some else thinks you should be doing. Make sure you are not comparing your goals or desires against anyone else either - own your own stuff -nothing will strengthen your resolve more.

#3 - Less is more ...along the lines of tip number 1...don't make your goals too lofty or have too many...maybe one in each area or your life or how about two major ones - you really can add more later(get the hint?)

#4 - Write them out and post them! If you don't want to post them, then, at the very least, write them out and put them somewhere you can access them. Believe me even if you just write them out that's a big step toward making it real in your subconscious. I can't tell you how many times I've wrote a list of goals and forgot about them only to find my list at a later date and was still able to cross some things off as completed, but a word of caution, this is the "hit or miss" method and not the most effective -- we're going for effective here.

#5 SHARE (and...don't share) -- share only with those people you are absolutely sure will support your decisions and won't take the "wind out of your sails"...also dont share with too many people even if they will all be supportive of you or you will take the "wind out of your own sails". There have been studies that show just the act of sharing a goal can give you the feeling of satisfaction of completing the goal - we don't want that - we want the real thing!

#6 Make some "intangible" goals - I know it sounds counter to what I said initially but I'm not talking about some vague goals or blanket statements. what I'm talking about here are things you can't see, touch hold or measure other than in the way you feel or the way it makes others feel...like I will make an effort to laugh everyday or I will try to make just one person smile everyday...

Finally -- #7 -Take your resolve serious, but be easy on the results. Let's face it - you can't achieve something if you don't focus and take it seriously. We've all seen the results of that at some point in our lives I'm sure, but the truth is life happens and in the end we're human. I'm not giving you an out..I'm just saying if it doesn't pan out -- dust yourself off and try again...and keep trying till it's done, but do it without remorse, regret or condemnation - Just keep going. (remember that race?)

and remember you are not alone in this... many have tried and failed and many have tried and won!

Either way...
Be Blessed

by the way -- I will be posting my resolutions..I'm just doing some editing myself...


PS - they're ready find them here