My Nana, My Friend

Featured Photo above courtesy of Pexels

March 10th would’ve been my maternal grandmother’s 97th birthday. I had 4 wonderful grandparents but there was something special about Nana.

I was her only grandchild so you can just imagine all of the love and attention I received.

When I was younger it used to drive me nuts the lengths Nana would go to show her affection. The loving stares, the frequent love pats. After a while I was like, “Ok, Nana. I got it. You love me. Geez. Enough already!” Mom would say, “Amy, she is only showing you how much she loves you.” And I would say, “Well, does she got to do it so much!?”

Image Credit: Gif/Bing

Due to my low self esteem and issues with bullying, discrimination, rejection and harassment I received while in school due to having a learning disability. Looking back, I think I didn’t feel worthy of having someone love me the way Nana did so I would act inappropriately, hoping she would come to understand that I am not worth loving and just move on.

God bless Nana, as she never quit showing me love and attention. No matter how many times I’d take my dissatisfaction with myself and life out on her, Nana was always right there with her big, bright smile, continuing her display of affection.

As I got older, I began to finally understand just how lucky I was to have someone love me as much as Nana did. And how very much we needed each other.

I needed someone to show me that I was worthy of having someone love me and after my grandfather passed away unexpectedly, Nana needed to know that it was all right for her to get as affectionate as she wanted.

I came to understand that by rejecting her attention, I was rejecting Nana as well.

And Lord knows I didn’t mean to imply that. I was so caught up into my own world that I failed to see just how fragile Nana truly was.

She was perky and fun-loving but underneath all of that was someone who felt lost… very much like me. I needed love to be shown I am worthy and Nana needed to give love so that she herself would feel worthy.

In 2011, I got a call that Nana was diagnosed with esophageal cancer… and it was terminal.

Image Credit: Pexels

Upon learning this, I immediately went to visit Nana at the nursing home. This was Nana’s home now in which she was placed after having a series of other health issues.

As I walked up to the front door, to my surprise – There was Nana sitting right by the door in her wheelchair flashing her big famous, bright smile.

Outside of being at the door that day, Nana mostly stayed in bed. When I would come, I’d take her for rides in her wheelchair. There was this little hill by the Physical Therapy wing that she loved for me to take her, whether going up or down – I’d always go reallyyyy fast!!

Nana would put her hands in the air and shout, “WHEE!”

It was during this time that I wholeheartedly apologized for my unkindness so long ago. Nana, without hesitation. Forgave me instantly…

She said, “It’s ok, You were young.”

Man, that did me in! after hearing those words, I just lost it..

Image Credit: Pexels

After Nana died, I began what was going to become a 7 year long journey of finding my true self. I knew I had to do some serious soul-searching. I was 34 years old and I was still feeling the effects of all that I went through.

I am happy to say that I am finally there and I would not have gotten here if it weren’t for Nana. She showed me just how worthy I really was and am. It was during the difficult times when I felt like giving up that I reminded myself that someone believed in me, even when I didn’t.

Nana’s been gone for 7 years now and there are still pieces of her all over our place. She’d  spent the winters with my family and I. She and I shared a bathroom.

In the top dresser drawer, is where Nana kept all her combs and brushes. I hadn’t even touched them. They’re still there.

I remember her every time I watch NCIS, she truly enjoyed that show as she was a huge fan of Mark Harmon and whenever I hear the song “Everything I Do, I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams, I would think about the time we all, including Nana went to the movies to see the film “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves”

I remember Nana saying to me one day, as we looked up at the clouds together, how fun it would be to ride on one those. Now, every time I look up and imagine which cloud she might be on, going “WHEE!” with both hands flailing high in the air.

Image Credit: Pexels

I was without a doubt so blessed to have had her as my grandmother and I know without a shadow of a doubt, she would say she was blessed to have me as her granddaughter.

After all, She was my Nana. She was my friend.

May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.
Amy Temple

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Can I have My Deposit Back – PLEASSSSEEEEE!!

True Story – I mean all my stories are true but you get it =)

In 2007 after living in an apartment with someone with HUGE feet living above me, Oh gosh – the noise and stomping. I can’t even begin to explain the torture, any-who I decided to move out and move into a nice little quaint house on the other side of town. I inquired about it, looked at it and had a sit down with the landlords in which were an elderly couple (names I shall not say), but they were super nice. The only thing they wanted was someone to take care of the place. While the place was really small, it had a load of character in which I loved.

Image credit: pexels

Immediately I began to see where I would put all my furniture and how I was going to make smaller areas, such as my bedroom work. The washer and dryer was going to have to be in the kitchen, a feature I didn’t particularly like, but hey. It had loads of charm and it was well maintained. It had a very nice backyard with a storage building. So any furniture I was not going to be able to fit into the space, could easily go into there.

Another feature I didn’t notice but quickly became annoyed with was the fact that the house was 15 steps from the local AIRPORT!!! Geeshhh, you know how you get so gung ho and excited over something until you forget the MAJOR details! I’m so like that. But, it had loads of charm! A three bedroom 2 full bath, who can beat that and the kitchen was even big enough for me to put in a computer desk for my office. How cool was that!

Immediately with the place, I would say about a week or two in – I seen a huge water bug making it’s way out of the kitchen. Scared the living daylights out of me…but it wasn’t the last one, it seemed like when we moved in – a whole other family moved into the furnishings as well. It was indeed water bug city! I immediately told the couple about this and they suggested I put down sticky traps along the walls and that I did…while it helped some, the kicker was a BIGGER than life one crawling across my TV screen as I watched the news one morning….I was livid! I had a 8 month old and a 1.5 year old at the time and I was so scared one of those suckers was going to bite them or get into my son’s crib or my daughters BED! Needless to say and to make a long story short, after living there for about a year and a half, I decided it was time to go.

The elderly couple that seemed so nice in the beginning turned into monsters in the end!

I cleaned the place to the best of my ability and mind you, as with moving you will have a load of stuff to throw away and I made sure it was placed neatly in front of the house so the garbage people can pick it up. I left the house in good standing. No rips or tears anywhere and it was clean….so now I awaited my 500 dollar deposit to come into the mail. A deposit that I never received.

What I did receive was a letter from the couple citing that I had lost and/or misplaced a couple things of theirs and they charged the heck out of me for it:

  • Missing curtains that were hung up to the window when they showed the place that were no longer there. Now I don’t know if these curtains were new, but they charged me store prices for all 4 curtains!
  • Missing stove and AC unit manuals that were not in the drawer when I left.
  • Burners for the stove that were not replaced
  • The trash that was left out front – Yeah, they charged me for that too.
  • The clear shower curtains that were not on the shower rods and they charged me for the rods as well.
  • Painting and a whole lot of other stuff that I can’t even name or was unaware of and they tacked on the charges majorly….like those manuals? Yeah, they called the company and found out how much it would cost to get another one and it wasn’t cheap!

By the time they got done calculating and adding things up that didn’t make a lick of sense, I not only wasn’t getting my deposit back but I had owed them money, money in which they put me on a payment plan to pay back $25.00 a month until the balance of 200.00 was paid in full, this was two hundred after the five hundred I didn’t receive. I was SOOOOOOOOOOO (excuse my language) PISSED! I called them both RAGING in fury, crying and cursing them out to the top of my lungs and then I hung the phone up in their faces.

Image Credit: Moose Photos/Pexels

Now, I’m not proud of my actions as they were elderly and I should’ve showed them respect, no matter how they acted – but I wanted my deposit back!!!!!!! Hence the move, I ended up back at my parents house and was looking forward to that money to help alleviate some irons I had in the fire – owing someone was NOT what I was expecting, BUT it happened.

Recently, I just moved and since that move. I got my full deposit back. While that issue with the elderly couple was a tragic one, it was also an eye-opening one that taught me a valuable lesson going forward and I want to share a couple of tips with you in regards to it!

FIRST THOUGH…..

Image credit: Bing/livingwordmontrose.com

Every landlord is NOT created equal. People say private owners are better but I’ve had both and each had their own set of rules and regulations. Private owners are a little more relaxed but you have to make sure – you get all your “I’s” and “T’s” crossed! and please by ALL means, if you don’t understand something – ASK QUESTIONS and read the lease thoroughly (especially the move out section), because the information that’s contained in it, can come back to haunt you later.

NOW FOR THE TIPS….

Image credit: Bing/steinbachapartments.com

1. Do a complete walk thru of the place before you move in. Make sure you look for anything that may not look right to you. Bulbs, sockets, paint, previous holes that may be in the wall, under the sinks, the toilets – I mean everything and make a list of those findings and give it to the landlord, this ensures that you are not charged with anything that was previously there prior to moving in.

2. Be careful of the pictures you hang on the wall. I know in my earlier years of renting, I was a landlords nightmare! because I absolutely love decorating. I would hang big art on the walls and some of it would be heavy, causing me to use an anchor or a heavier nail or screw. And trust me, I got dinged for my creativeness when it came down to getting back that deposit. While landlords cannot take away your deposit due to normal wear and tear of a property, such as (paint, carpet and etc – depending on how long you’re there) They can deduct if the walls are damaged from either hanging pics that are too big or major holes caused by you. Make sure you get those patched up before leaving.

3. Are there things in the apartment or house prior to you moving in? As I stated above in my own story. The landlords had put up curtains and shower curtains and rods and so forth to make the place look nice. If there is anything of the such hanging up prior to your move in, ask the landlord are those your items to keep or would they like them back. Another thing you could do is take them all down and place them in a box labeled “Decorative items prior to move in” so you can make sure those items go right back up when you leave. It sounds petty but….as you seen with my story, it was a SERIOUS thing!

Image credit: Bing/Trulia

4. It’s wise if you do a walk-through of your place prior to leaving. Check everything and determine what you need to do to either fix it or call a professional to get it prepared. And if you can, try and replace the things that may have gotten damaged prior to you staying there, especially if it was in good condition before you moved in.

5. Take a video and or pictures of the place prior to moving out and keep receipts of everything that you might have replaced or gotten fixed. This covers you should you have a slumlord that thinks he’s keeping your deposit. Speaking of which and every state is different. Make sure you check with your state to see the time-frame a landlord has to return your deposit. For NC it’s 30 days, some landlords will give it back to you sooner than that, while others will stretch it out. Knowing this information will help you know when to expect it.

Bonus Tip: Be clear in the beginning about what your deposit will be used for. Either the last month’s rent or the deposit in which you’re expected to get back, should the place be in good standing. Talk with your landlord about this as most people confuse the deposit to be the last month’s rent and unless your landlord has told you differently. Then know that it’s clearly a deposit only.

I have one last tip and that’s How to Properly decorate your new “rental” space! Sometimes we can go a little overboard. That’s next week, so stay tuned!

A School ‘Without’ Teachers – A Nigerian Education Innovation

  • Have you seen a school that uses no textbooks, no exercise books and no timetables?or… 
  • Have you ever visited a school without a row of chairs, tables for students and teachers?… and 
  • Have you been to a school where there are no grade levels, and nobody is actually a student?

If you haven’t, then welcome to Prikkle Academy!

All that you see in a regular school, we have the opposite at this Academy.

In Nigeria, there is a worrisome statistics of millions of youths that have to spend at least 16 years through school to become fully unemployed.

The numbers are even scarier in rural communities where the quality of formal education is low, where the infrastructures are weak and the motivation of learners and teachers dwindle down to zero every day.

This news is everywhere, everyone is angry about the educational system and the hope for a highly productive future of the nation is like the legs of a snail walking backwards.

Instead of waiting until everything crumbles, Prikkle Academy decided to chart a different path – a daringly odd direction to not fix education but to nurture the gifts and assets that are available in any community.

We have a vision of an Africa where rural youths are community builders, valued by everybody and can play a critical role in national development.

So, we co-create innovation hubs (called makerspaces) with grassroots youths to inspire creative collaboration in identifying the social problems within their community, freely choose their own tools and become problem-solvers through virtual and peer-to-peer learning.

Student at Prikkle Academy

In a practical sense, we run from a specific community location, inside a solar-powered building, opened for 7 days in a week, where anyone of any age, background or skill can freely walk into and find the tools and resources they need to turn their ideas into real solutions.

No timetables, no teacher or student, no classwork or homework, no report cards, no payment of any fees, and nobody is paid a salary.

We call it real learning as real life is happening.

There is a little story that is worth sharing about how we decided to go in this direction and then, we will hold your hand as we walk you through some of the magical possibilities that have happened since we started in 2016.

Are you ready? Let’s go:

In 2012, a young man after immediately graduating from the University was enrolled by the Nigerian Government as a biology teacher on the compulsory 1 year National Service.

The usual practice is that some graduates influence their placement to be posted to the cities, but this guy didn’t bother influencing his posting.

Fortunately, he was posted into a hard-to-reach rural community in Benue State, North-Central Region in Nigeria (Most-populous African Nation).

He had to live in a house without electricity, drinkable water or toilet for 7 months of his stay in the community. When he resumed at the school, he found students that were academically brilliant and many others that struggled to learn.

While his job was to help students learn Biology, something shocking started happening to the students that he couldn’t ignore.

He realized that some of his students dropped out of school without any prior notice. He inquired about the situation and found out that there were two problems that led to this problem:

#1 Poverty! – the parents could no longer afford the cost of sending their children to school.
#2 The quality of education was too low to raise skilled youths.

Survival is generally tough in rural communities and the youths continuously moved to the city to become street children and manual laborers to survive.

At this point, he got inspired to help rural children and youths to get tailored, personalized and quality education that will ensure they learn effectively, have top-notch competencies to get jobs, be engaged and lead peaceful lives in the future, no matter where they go to.

He engaged about 200 students for 3 days in a series of capacity building sessions. The creative spirit, curiosity and the passion in the students were unleashed. Within a month, new enterprises were created and still growing till date.

The children and youths seemed powerless living in rural communities because they didn’t have the necessary technologies to learn, research, grow and blossom like the children in the city or in developed countries.

After his 1 year service year ended, he took a job that he didn’t need in the city. Yet, deep down, he was already consumed with the passion to empower humanity, because of his experiences visiting and working with more rural communities within that year.

His name is Damilola Fasoranti, straightaway he decided to start Prikkle Academy, left his city job and permanently moved into the rural communities to do 2 major things:

  • to make sure that any child and youth in the rural communities can be fully engaged with the tools, people and resources that will help them turn any education they have into solutions.
  • to help more youths to access learning opportunities, to collaborate on projects with other youths from around the world, to communicate effectively, become ethical leaders and lead successful lives.

In the past 3 years, here are some of the results of this ‘odd’ approach to Education:

  • Increased community recycling: plastic bottles, nylons and cartons were usually thrown away by the community people are now being sold in bundles starting from $2, as they now see the tangible recycled products that children and youths are creating from it.
  • Employment opportunities: At least 15 unemployed participants now earn $60+ monthly (above minimum wage) by offering their new skill sets virtually in design, content creation, social media management and research.
  • This makerspace, launched in 2017 has helped to engender peaceful co-existence with neighbors, different tribes, religions and language serving 7 schools (over 900 students) in the local communities of Mbagishi, Benue State and Afon, Kwara State, Nigeria.
  • For the first time, rural youths are able to use computers and learn with other people from around the world virtually.
  • The centre has attracted the visits of urban professionals, University students from several states in Nigeria and Overseas.
  • Our solution of turning household food waste into organic fertilizers for farmers has been adopted by people in 3 African countries.
  • We have successfully converted human feces into organic cooking fuel.
  • Successfully partnered with the Government in Nigeria and 4 other organizations in Nigeria (MollyFrank Nigeria Limited and MindTheGap – A Google Sponsored Initiative), in Benin Republic (VIP World) and a Non-profit Organization (Loss of Generality) Ireland.
  • In 2017, Prikkle Academy was profiled as one of the 450 education organizations in the world solving education problems with an innovative approach by Centre for Education Innovations (an Initiative of Results for Development Institute), USA.
  • – We were selected as 1 of the Top 100 Global Most inspiring Social Innovations by Social Enabler, India.
  • Our Staff and Participants have been selected for at least 6 International fellowship programs for using an unconventional method to solve rural educational problems in Nigeria.
  • Prikkle Academy’s inspiring approach to development has been published in the renowned CHANGE Magazine, by Development Innovation Insider (Diinsider), Hong Kong.

If there a dream that you have always had, the time to launch it was yesterday, not tomorrow. No matter how odd or scary it may seem.

See this documentary, click >>>> HERE

You have been inspired enough… now, LAUNCH!

To learn more and support our work at Prikkle Academy, visit our website: www.prikkleacademy.org | On Social Media: @PrikkleAcademy [ctt template=”8″ link=”aIJ70″ via=”no” ]Prikkle Academy – Changing Lives, Empowering Communities [/ctt]

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Damilola Fasoranti writes in his dreams and helps fearful entrepreneurs to finally launch their awesome dreams. He is a Tedx Speaker, a professional educator and the Chief Listener at Prikkle Academy (in Nigeria) where he provokes young people to turn their skills, gifts and knowledge into social solutions.

Finally Letting Go In Order to Move On…

I’ve been living with a learning disability for most of my life.

And if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also lived with the fact of having many medical professionals tell my parents – that unfortunately, I wasn’t going to amount up to anything.

Image Credit: Pexels

Because of this stigma, I’ve felt the pain and agony of school bullying and harassment. After graduation, I joined a local job employment program for the disabled where I got my first experience of just how unacceptable society can be.

And trust me, just because I had a disability – employers didn’t waste time making me feel worse than what I already had been feeling, each looked down on me as if I was a complete waste of time, almost as if they “had” to hire me because they didn’t want a lawsuit. My heart went out to the other members in the program who had more severe disabilities. Lord knows what they must have been going through!

After several years of nothing but frustration over the discrimination and rejection, I decided to quit the job search.

Being 23 at the time, most people my age were already living on their own with good paying jobs and there I was, still living at home without a job prospect in sight. I remember volunteering at the local senior citizen center just to get out the house.

I began to feel bad for my parents whom were still having to support me. Thinking of that the job search and the remnants of school bullying and taunting began to make me one bitter person, it was like a plague that seemed to latch on to me daily.

However, I could go on and on about how angry I was at being disabled. The bitterness, resentment and grudges I felt from others judging me because of it which led me to carry some big chips on my shoulders – towards everyone!

Oh my, years of holding all that hurt affected me in all areas of my life. So much so, I began to live with worry, fear and anxiety. It all started in junior high when I created the habit of picking my skin to the point of scars and my nails to the point of nubs. I soon developed an eating disorder.

I had major trust issues. I didn’t have any friends outside of my volunteer work. I didn’t date. This lasted for years.

When I was 34, my maternal grandmother died from esophageal cancer. She was my last surviving grandparent. Losing her finally opened my eyes, it’s sad that it takes a tragedy for us to really see ourselves. I decided that I could no longer live this way and I had to do something about it.

It took me several years of self help programs and books but I have finally found peace. Now that’s not to say I haven’t made some pretty big whoppers. I mean, I am still human and do make mistakes, but I’m a much better ME, a me that I finally approve of!

Image credit: Pexels

I’ve been on this earth for nearly 42 years and have done an extensive amount of soul searching. In that discovery, I’ve learned quite a few things about myself as well as my environment and that’s this:

  • Not everyone is going to accept you.
  • People are going to hurt you because they’re hurting themselves and get a “high” off of causing others pain.
  • If you allow haters to rule your life, you’re slowly killing yourself.

I know because I spent well over 30 years accepting and doing just that. Don’t waste your life over how others perceive you. How God perceives you is what matters. He sent His son to die for you. All of your sins, all of your mistakes have been forgiven.

You are fearfully, wonderfully and beautifully made.

And don’t you EVER forget that!

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

I’ve Been Wrong… And Here’s Why

I must confess something to all of you.

image credit: bing

These past few months I believe I have been coming across as bitter.Bitter because I have been discriminated against and rejected due to my learning disabilities. I feel all I have done since I began writing this blog is complain…

And that is not what I want to do here. I wanted to join this team because I wanted to inspire you. I figured you could use a break from all the negativity that I am sure you have been reading elsewhere. And yet, I have been contributing.

I sincerely apologize to all of you. I don’t want you to come away after reading my work feeling worse than you may have already felt.

After re-reading some of my previous blogs, I thought to myself, “Man! I sound like one bitter woman!”

image credit: gif/Emma Roberts

Yes, what I have gone through has really hurt but after a recent incident, I have realized it is time to not dwell on what has happened to me or what has been happening to me.

I have previously mentioned -and complained- about my long-standing work relationship as a dog sitter for a couple in the retirement community I live in with my parents. I was very bitter about their ways and made threats to quit.

AND I DID! but not before I told the wife off via a text first! I mean, I TOLD HER OFF! And there was absolutely no need to do it…any of it.

I had been reminding this couple over and over again, maybe even several times a day to keep their puppy away from leaves, bits of tree twigs and plant seeds – a pretty reasonable request I thought. But after they failed to listen and honor my request – that’s when my ROCKETS got to flying and they flew pretty HIGH!

image credit: bing

Overall this couple are very nice Christians who have very specific ways they want their dog to be treated. Yes, some are a bit peculiar to say the least, but that’s the beauty of free will…right?

But you want to know the saddest part of it all? I also consider myself to be a Christian too. However, judging by my recent behavior, you sure wouldn’t be able to see it.

After completing some majorly, heavy repenting, God pierced my bitterly dark heart. So much so, I ended up sending the wife a text in the middle of the night, swallowing some serious crow!

I deeply apologized for my behavior and asked for another chance. Fortunately, I was given one. And I hope you, my readers -who I am truly grateful to have – will give me one, too.

image credit: bing/shrek/pussinboots

When you get on this website, you want to be inspired. You want to feel better.

You don’t want to hear about the woe is me tales of how rough life has been for someone because you already know. You don’t want -nor do you need – to be reminded.

So I am here to tell you all that I am not going to be writing any more stories like that.

I am definitely going to be continuing to write for Justsuminspiration and I am forever grateful for this glorious opportunity to share my God-given gift with you all.

My advice to you?, please don’t do what I did. Don’t wallow in pride. Learn to let things go, especially the past. The Bible says “Forget the former things. Keep pressing forward to the life that God has planned for you.”

Oh and no matter how wrong you may get, always – always don’t be too ashamed to say “you’re sorry” – None of us, including me should ever be above that law..

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Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.

Amy is a resident of Florida.  Since 2006, she has been self-employed in the dog care field.  In May 2017, she self-published a memoir titled “I Am Not Stupid” which is available through Amazon.  She writes for seethegoodinfo, an inspirational website and the Learning Disabilities Association’s newsletter LD Source.