Friday Files

What a week it has been!  Oh my. I am so blessed and so grateful.  This week started with me negotiating a new job that I am totally excited about.  (There's more to come about that later).

This Friday Files isn't going to get into what I'm doing.  Instead, this post is about what I wore to the interview.

In preparation for the interview, I realized that I haven't interviewed for a job since my senior year of college when I interviewed for my first job out of college at the Public Justice Center.   That was 6 years ago! I know right. That's a long time.  Yes, I still remember what I wore to that interview.  It was a grey suit from Express with a pink and white striped shirt.

I have been so fortunate to work with so many great organizations through my consulting firm, but those aren't job interviews.  In all of the clients I've worked with, they have wanted to work with me, so our first meeting was a test to see if I wanted to work with them just as much as they wanted to. So, although I never take meeting a new client lightly, those meetings were less formal than an official job interview.

So as I began to think about what I would wear to the interview last week, I searched google for fashionable way to dress for an interview.  Can I just say, all the responses were B-O-R-I-N-G! Don't wear bright colors, don't wear big jewelry, dress conservatively, wear neutral colors. Boo.

As I went shopping for something to wear, I pulled alot of "safe" items. I was trying to stay in the black, grey, and white family.  Then, I found some things in my favorite color - pink.  Not just pink, but HOT PINK!  They were totally classy, totally beautiful pieces.

So of course, as I'm in the dressing room trying on the black, greys, and whites I wasn't very excited. Nothing wrong with these colors, but for me, it's just not the outfit I want to meet someone in for the first time.  Then, the hot pink dress came up. Oh my! It was comfortable. It was a good fit. It screamed Niecy.

You see. I dream in color. I live my life out loud and generally don't conform to what others say I should do. So there google search. I played by my rule.  Guess what? It worked! I was notified of the intent to make a formal offer that day. God is good.

So the purpose of this post is to say,  live your life. Express you. If you are a black, grey, white type of person. - wear it to the fullest. As for me - I'm going to keep dreaming, and wearing, color!

Headed to the interview. The big ol' gun in the background has a story - my grandpa used it as a child to hunt food for his family.


There's more to talk about

Today I accepted the Executive Director position at a local domestic violence program.  I have watched my words as the news of Evelyn Lozado and Chad Johnson's recent news came out because I knew very soon, I would be representing an organization that deals with this issue head on.

It has been hard to bite my tongue as I have seen my Facebook news feed and Twitter stream full of jokes and speculation over what happened.  Comments from guys and girls alike have totally caught me off guard.

Here's why. Domestic violence is never ok. No matter what side it comes from - male or female.  We need to make no room for it in our society.  What happens in these high profile cases is people come to look at what "caused" the incident to happen, blame gets placed on one party or the other, and speculations fly rampant. We make comments like "let's be real, we all know she's the crazy one" or "this is what happens when you marry a gold-digger".  These comments are the ones that make this incident of domestic violence seem like an isolated, once in a lifetime event, when the reality is there are people who live in abusive relationships every day, and who don't know if tomorrow will be the day they will be killed.

I saw it with Rihanna and Chris. It came up again this weekend with Evelyn and Chad.  It turns my stomach because we lose our sensitivity to the real issue of abuse.  We gossip and speculate about what happened that night between the two, but we don't bother to think about what happens every night to millions of women fleeing their homes.


While you watch TMZ for your updates on Chad and Evelyn, know this:
  • One in four women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. That means you probably know a woman who has been abused.
  • Nearly three out of four Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. Told you so.
  •  On average, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners in this country every day. If that statistic doesn't make you stop gossiping and start caring, it should.
  • One in five teens in a serious relationship reports having been hit, slapped, or pushed by a partner. Do you know who your children are dating? Are you having conversations with them about healthy relationships? If not, it is time to start.
  • 50% of the men who frequently assault their wives also frequently abuse their children.  Thus, continuing the cycle of abuse from generation to generation. We know that sons who watch their mothers be abused are more likely to become abusive, and daughters who are raised in abusive households are more likely to enter into abusive relationships themselves.

I by no means mean to ignore male victims of domestic violence either. The data for male victims is so scarce because men are taught to be strong, and have a very difficult time admitting abuse.

I hope that when high profile cases like this come up, we are slower to judge and quicker to learn more about the real issue.  Domestic violence is real - possibly in your home, your neighborhood, your church, your job. Let's not get caught up in who did what and who deserves what. Let's use it as an opportunity to educate ourselves and to make society an environment without all the stigmas surrounding this issue. Maybe, just maybe, a life can be saved.

Statistics taken from the Domestic Violence Resource Center.

Back to School We Go

Today was back to school! Oh what a day.  Munchkin was so excited to start Pre-K4, because in Pre-K4 you have to color within the lines and you don't get to take naps.  They are the big kids.  Can I tell you how excited I am that Munchkin loves school? Oh my. It makes my heart so glad.

I spent yesterday afternoon doing all his school supply shopping.  Look at this list!  Yes- for a 4 year old. I don't even mind because he goes to a really great school that take really great care of the kids and I know they'll use these supplies to the fullest.  I thought to myself yesterday "what will it be like when I need to stock his dorm room?" Oh my!

 It was so great to see everyone when we pulled up. It really is like a family there. 


 
This is our second year at this school and all the Pre-K classes are together in one building. So we are really close with all the teachers.  I found this idea on Pinterest yesterday and I wish I could credit the source but I wasn't logged in, and couldn't save the pin.  It's a mason jar with chocolate chip cookies in it, and the tag says:

With you as my teacher, I am sure to be one smart cookie!

 Here's my big boy, all excited for his first day, can't you tell?  Another Pinterest idea. (Of course I can't find it now, when I do I'll come back and add the link).

He's holding a picture of him on the first day of school last year. It's pretty fun to see his growth. Last year he looked a little unsure in the picture, this year he's all smiles.


I love starting a few first day of school traditions.

Thank you to all the teachers who do what they do. Here's to a great school year!


Ballet Pro Musica 2012


On Friday evening I attended the 6th Annual Ballet Pro Musical Festival  at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.  The evening was a total delight.  The Ballet Pro Musica Festival is the first and only summer ballet festival in America presenting a new and different arts entertainment category...
Chamber Music Ballet.  The Ballet is always performed with live music, which was an added treat.

Live Chamber Musicians    
Literally sitting right behind the piano player. I could read her music!
I joined my dear friends and fellow staff members at the NHCC Foundation for an evening to enjoy the programs without our working caps on.  Let me just say how blessed I am to work with such amazingly talented people like Reeve Love, Program Director of the Performing Arts Program at the NHCC, and Joseph Wasson, Jr., who is the Program Manager and manages all the productions that happen there.

A huge thank you to them for hooking us up with the best seats in the house. My photos don't do the performance any justice, but since I was in the front row and you aren't supposed to be taking pictures anyways, they'll just have to do! 

Front Row in the house

Love these girls!

The ballerinas were amazing. I mean so talented.  Our seats were perfect for nosey Niecy, because I am a total people watcher. I could see stage right from where I was seated, so when the opening curtain was pulled, I totally saw the lead male doing push-ups against a chair before going on stage! Only I would care about this!


I also never realized just how hard ballet dancers work. I mean there were times you could literally hear them breathing. The guys - that's a lot of lifting and such, and the girls, wow, they must have abs of steel. So I'm sure most people don't describe a graceful ballerina as having abs of steel, but I do.

Another great thing to see while i was backstage peeping was how funny it is to see the girls on stage being totally graceful, and when they get off stage just plop down in their tutus, with their legs spread apart, like "give me air!".  I think I loved watching all this behind the scenes action as I did the actual ballet!




 The performance was awesome. If you can, put it on your calendar for next year. 


The Truth


Yes it is 1am here and I am wide awake. Tomorrow (or today rather) is a day I have been waiting for. I haven't had a sleepless night like this in quite some time, but I'm excited for tomorrow.

Since I am up, I decided to come here to write.  To write about something that is always on my heart and my mind. This is where I give my disclaimer that if you don't want to delve into a bit of my real personal life, not just the fun happy times, please excuse yourself now.

Recently, I was speaking to one of my really good friends and this topic came up.  She is dating a really great guy but he has a child.  She made a comment that he spends his free time with his son and she feels like she is in a relationship by herself.  I immediately asked "you don't want to be a stepmother, do you?"  

You see for me, this is the greatest question I have to ask before I can even think about dating.  You can love me all you want, but if your desire to be in my son's life isn't equal to that, there's no need for us to even talk.  I feel the same way about the other side.

As a mother, as the one who carried this amazing little boy for 9 months, experienced many sleepless nights, and am challenged every day to be better, to grow, and to stretch out of my own selfish desires to fulfill his, I can't imagine my son being around someone who doesn't absolutely desire to have him in their life, but simply tolerates it because they want to be with his dad.  Truth.

This is where I am seeking truth. This is where I am praying daily for peace.  I know what it is like to be tired, frustrated, and all the other things we feel in life, and have to put that aside to care for my child.  I do it, and I'll always do it, because I love him. Because God blessed me with him and entrusted him in my care.  I don't want someone around my son that doesn't feel the same way.

When I try to tell this to D2 it's like screaming at a brick wall. He's not able to comprehend it.  Just as I was stirring over how I would write this, a scary statistic popped up in my news feed on Facebook. I tweeted the picture and then deleted it from my phone. It's not something I want to archive on my blog.  It said "children are 100% more likely to be killed by a non-biological parent". Well, that just scares me.  This to me says, you need to make sure people are tried and true before you bring them around your child (for me that means ALOT of testing the spirit by the Spirit). 

So maybe the every day person thinks I'm being a little extreme. The back story here is more complicated. Of course, it always is. Something triggered in me while talking to my girlfriend today though, because I love her dearly.  I realized that if she were the one dating my son's father, I wouldn't want her around my child, because her heart wouldn't be for my child, it'd be for his dad. It's not necessarily about a person, but for me it's about the person's heart.

I love how Micca Campbell says in her book An Untroubled Heart that we need to pray for God to protect us, shield us, until the right one comes along.  When the right one does come, they'll want to date us as a family.  I certainly am waiting for that, but I do not feel the other one did. So I am stuck playing mama bear, protector, voice of reason, all while seeming like the one trying to block their relationship.

This post didn't come out as eloquently as I had hoped.  If you have ever gone through a separation or divorce, or were a child of divorced parents, I would love to hear your comments.



Beloved


My sisters are on my heart tonight as I write, in fact they've been on my heart all day.  I often find trends among my friends on social media, and that's when I know God is telling me to speak.  Last week, a friend kept posting about what a good woman she is and how she is tired of dating men who don't see her value.  I began speaking from my spirit that day about the reality that if you have to tell a man what a good woman you are after he screwed you over, it's too late.  Sisters, we have to stop giving ourselves to men - our time, our attention, our bodies, and our hearts, that don't see our worth before they even approach.

Today I was led to post on Facebook - Dear Ladies, Don't allow any man to call you out of your name. God calls you His beloved. Anything lower than that is not your name and is not acceptable. Get connected to who God says you are.

From that post came many likes, and I believe sparked some other posts, which is what I pray God does through me.  However, I was a little heartbroken to see that women still feel the need to disclaim what kind of men shouldn't approach them.

So, ladies, let's get a few things clear.

1. You were created in the image of God. He loves every single detail about you. You don't need to convince, show, or do anything special to make a man see this. God already knows.  Let God love on you and you love on Him, and this natural, unique, one of a kind beauty will shine through.

2. Be so focused on loving God, that someone has to seek Him to find you.  Stop seeking him hoping he'll find you. That's not your focus. Seek God.

3. You are beloved. You know that. You feel it. You act like it. People who don't know how to treat beloved can't even come near you.

Ladies, you don't have to tell anyone of your worth. Your worth has already been set. Please stop feeling the need to write disclaimers.  What God has done needs no disclaimer.

I love you all.

Team Favored With Scents & Goal Getter Stars

My sister is the Director of Team Favored With Scents and I am the Director of the Goal Getter Stars! Here's the video I created to highlight the great time we had had Scentsy Family Convention this year. I hope you enjoy!



Friday Files

Have you been enjoying the Olympic games? Oh my - what an exciting week it has been cheering on the USA.  I am so happy for Michael Phelps, and since I lived in Baltimore for 3 years and own a house there, I feel hometown proud. Gabby Douglas - so proud of her. She's going to do amazing things because she gets how this works. Give God the glory first, everything else falls into place. Missy Franklin and her beautiful smile.  Ryan Lochte - yummy.  Kerri and Misty - straight up beasts.  It has been so exciting to watch these true champions!  I just finished watching the women's 10,000 meter race - um...yeah.  Dear Dibaba, where in the world do you get a kick to finish the race like that? Did you all see her? As soon as the last lap bell rang - she took off as the race had just started and she hadn't just ran 24 laps!

All this excitement had me in deep reflection mode about just how great life really is.  My mom, in all her amazingness, has binders and binders of pictures and news paper clippings for every year I played in college.  My Throwback Thursday post on Instragram paid homage to my D1 volleyball career.

 

 I thought it was kind of fun, and since social media has blown up since I played in college, many people don't know this part of my story. It was exciting to share with friends and for the old ones who remember these days and the new ones who had no clue that I really played volleyball. Like at a high level.

On Monday, I barely made it out of bed. I was still hungover on excitement from Vegas I guess.  I forced myself up and went for a 3 mile run.  I'm so glad I did because on my way home God met me saying good morning. It was breathtaking.


That made getting up out of bed so worth it.  You've seen my posts from earlier this week about how crazy busy I was.  Working, moving. Oh glory to life.  My parents are in Hawaii this week, so Munchkin and I stole my moms QT convertible bug and took a joy ride. How could he sleep through this?

  

Well at least I sure enjoyed it! All in all it was a very productive week. I'm grateful for that.  Here's my address for at least the next 6 months.  I'm really getting the chance to find joy in the journey. Get ready for plenty of updates about this.  I post this mailbox because I'm learning very quickly, sometimes what we look at as a set back is truly a set up, and if you'll just take your hands off of it, God can work His masterplan. I'd much rather trust His plan than my own.

 So did I tell you I won Scentsy Family Convention Socialite in Vegas last week? With that honor came a sweet new iPad!  Look how cool Scentsy's social media team is. Here's how the box arrived.  I later learned on Twitter they expected the shipping department to change out the box, but I thought the message made it extra special!


Wow - I have more Friday Files than you probably care to go through, so I'm sure I'll find another post to use the remaining photos.  Last, but not least. Today is my sissy poo's birthday! I love her so much.  God blessed me with an awesome sister, friend, auntie to my son, and business partner! I love her so much. As soon as Munchkin wakes up I'm going to head to World Market to grab her some special wine and hang out a bit.  As you can tell, we've been party rocking together our entire life!


I hope you had an awesome week and have an amazing, relaxing weekend!

Necklace: JC Penny Top: Target


Life is Moving So Fast


I feel like the past few weeks have gone by way too quickly. Just last week we were in Las Vegas for the 2012 Light It Up Scentsy Family Convention.  I returned last Saturday and I feel like I've been going non-stop since then.

Sunday, I spent most of the day at the house continuing to pack, you can accumulate so much in one year, move things into storage, and cleaning.  (more details later about my move).  Monday, I had 5 proposals due by 4pm for clients, one of which fell through, so I completed 4 of them and submitted them all in time.  Tuesday was more all the final packing, professional carpet cleaning, me scrubbing everything top to bottom, moving stuff to storage, leaving way too much stuff still in my car.  After I picked Munchkin up from camp, I felt like I was starting to get sick.  We had a Scentsy team call that night, and by the time we were done I was shivering and felt like my body was about to give out.  I drove home with the heater blasting on high, in New Mexico, in the summer, yeah not good.  I realized I left all our meds at the house, so I took children's benny.  I sweated and shivered all night, and I think the worst of it is now gone.  I spent all day Wednesday wrapped up in the excitement of the launch of Grace Adele, coaching my team - which I love, and taking meds. Today I was back in client's offices,  writing and reporting, and the conversation I ranted about on Twitter tonight that was a total disregard for my time - but I'll leave that off of here.  

So I'm feeling a little drained tonight. It's an exciting time in life because there are so many things happening and so many changes, but sometimes change can be exhausting. It's also a little bit of a scary time because I honestly don't know what's to come! Just riding it out.

Everything is moving so fast. I haven't even had the moment to sit down and process it all. We just moved out of our home that we filled with tons of love and laughter. My son made such cute friends on our street. So many memories. I'm building a business, a brand, and someone just totally wasted a significant portion of my time.  I feel - annoyed.  Everything seems to be happening so fast and I need to process it all!

I hope you all don't mind a little mind dump here tonight. I promise I won't do it often - but sometimes a girl just needs to.

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