It was September 2004. It was supposed to be our vacation.
My parents, my maternal grandmother and I flew down to Orlando on September 20th from Indianapolis to check on the damage done to our mobile home from Hurricane Charley.
Jeanne was out to sea. She was not going to hit land, meteorologists said earlier in the week. “Jeanne won’t affect the United States”, one said.
A couple of days later, she made a sudden left turn and headed straight for FLORIDA!
Meteorologists told residents to brace for yet another hurricane. People were putting up plywood and using tarps in an attempt to protect themselves.
Local government officials were giving frequent press conferences urging residents to evacuate. Shelters were being set up and the Red Cross was getting prepared.
My family and I sat watching the coverage, trying to decide what to do.
We had decided to change our plane ticket but, we were a little too late as the airport just got it’s orders to close. We called the rental car agency to see how much it would cost to drive our rental back to Indiana but it was going to be too costly.
So it was official. We were all going to experience our very first hurricane!
On September 25th, a member of the Orlando Police and Fire Department drove around the mobile home park -a retirement community- with a bullhorn announcing we had by 6 PM to evacuate.
A cousin of ours -who also lived in the park – invited us to join him at his son’s house. Jeanne hit the Orlando area between 3 and 4 AM the next morning.
She was a Category 3 with winds between 80-95 miles per hour with a gust of 70 and left several inches of rain. The media coverage was very professional and calm. I admired their courage to go out and report. Very brave souls!
One got tossed several inches live on the air but fortunately wasn’t hurt. As for me and my family, we were all basically calm. I sat on the living room sofa reading “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” with an amazing view of the storm through the picture window.
I really can’t put it into words what I saw: just the work that I saw God due was just simply incredible!
The city curfew lifted the next day and we returned back to our home.
The level of destruction in the park left us all in a state of amazement.
Parts of or whole roofs were gone. Front and back porches were gone.
Carports, awnings, trimmings and siding were gone.
The canal, lake and swimming pool were overflowing.
A tree with a birdhouse near the lake was leaning sideways.
The shuffleboard court had puddles of water.
Trees were snapped and leaning or were completely gone.
Very few homes sustained little to no damage. Luckily, our home was one of them.
Now I’m not going to get all “I-saw-my-life-flash-before-me” on you because I’m not the dramatic type. Going through a hurricane was very exciting but it was not a life-changing experience…
It was one very memorable vacation!
Have you been through a traumatic event such as a Hurricane or maybe even a Tornado? Tell me your story below and let’s chat!
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.
Ahhhh, or I guess I should say “WOOSAH” Where in the world do I start. Ever since I beat out shyness at the age of 30 (Yeah, late bloomer here), I’ve really never been at a loss for words but for some reason when it came down to reflect on the number 4 and 40, you’ll find out those meanings in a sec. I honestly didn’t know where to start, what to really say or if I should just skip this week and not post at all…
I have to admit, I’m usually prepared and have things scheduled, but this post is literally coming at you word-for-word as I sit at my computer and type away. Well, here it goes…
So the number 4 and 40 are celebratory because the number 4 represents a hurdle crossed that I didn’t think would last a month, less known a year. The number 40 represents the turn of a century that I honestly didn’t think I’d live to see. Without further ado, let’s begin with the number 4 in which all started in March when I got this beautiful notification from WordPress:
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com! You registered on WordPress.com 4 years ago. Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
I mean, has it been 4 years already?? – Geesh, where has the time gone? I remember the month and day that I started this blog. It’s amazing because months prior I was beginning to wonder, what in the world my purpose/gift was. You know there’s a time in all of our lives where you want to become more strategic with your purpose and you begin to put more thought into what you’re doing and how what you’re doing is affecting the people around you. I had no idea what my true purpose was, I did in a sense but I hadn’t began to really cultivate it.
Mind you, I’ve always been known as the “jack of all trades.” I could tell you how to do anything but I wasn’t a master at any of it. At one point I felt as if I was just put here on earth to just fly with the wind but deep inside I knew something more was there – people would look at me and the only thing I would get was “There’s something about you, I just can’t put my finger on it” In any case this could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it…lol.
However, In my spirit, I felt as if I should be doing more as if whatever it was I was doing, was nothing compared to what I should’ve been doing – if any of that even makes sense. As I scrolled through my email one day I saw the advertisement for WordPress and starting a blog, as soon as I see that advertisement – something in my spirit jumped as if to say “THAT’S IT!” needless to say, I didn’t take the bait and waited another 6 months in which I see the same advertisement and again, my spirit leaped and again, I didn’t do it. March 13, 2015 – there it was again except this time, the feeling I felt was forceful as if I was in labor and the baby was coming…whether I was ready for it or not.
I felt something deep inside me say “DO IT NOW!!” and I did it, right then and there. I was hesitant about paying for my domain name, choking up the excuse of “I didn’t have the money” I learned a lesson from that experience and through it – I birthed my first blog post on this site entitled “Invest in Yourself……First!” and the rest as the old adage says “is history” I had no idea what I was going to talk about or even if this blog would last. Sometimes I can be an “it’s new” type of gal and once I get bored, It’s thrown to the side with other unfinished projects. I have to say, I acknowledged God every step of the way and 4 years later, here I am and I’m so grateful for the love, the support and the followers new and old who have stuck with me throughout this time.
I know there’s people out there that read the blog and never like or leave a comment but they read it and I’m even more grateful for that support as well because there’s a lot of things out here that could get your attention but to give me 5% of it, I count it an honor and I’m humbled. If we never meet or speak to each other, know that I feel the love.
SOOOOOOOOOOO……that’s that, now
you might be thinking, what’s up with the 40! Well, that’s how old I’ll be
turning on tomorrow! I’m nervous, scared, disappointed, happy and optimistic
all at the same time. Not sure if you can have all those arrays of emotions
going on but I certainly do.
My doctor told me earlier this week that his friend told him that his 40’s were his best decade ever and I’m soooo holding on to that. There are so many things I can say about going into 40. I’ve experienced a lot of ups as well as downs getting to this point and I’ve made some terrible mistakes but I’m going into 40 with a little more wisdom and a lot of more love for myself. It’s sad because if I can be honest, I messed up my 20’s and most of my 30’s and even though, by 30, I’d finally discovered my voice. I had trouble using it and continuously welcomed, unacceptable behavior in the terms of “toxic” relationships.
Over that period, I’d gained many friends and lost just as many. Some for no apparent reason at all – I just happened to look around and realized they were no longer there. Some instances of that happening hurt like hell (pardon the language) and in other circumstances, I was glad for the departure. I’ve learned a lot getting to this point and it’s true what they say, the older you get you tend to become less worried about what people think, what people say and how people view you. I now realize my worth and KNOW who I am. I’m no longer hungry for love, attention or friendships. I allow things to happen organically now, which in my opinion – is best.
The one thing I’m looking forward to in my 40’s is my kids graduating high school and completing college if I should still be writing at 50 and if their heads are screwed on right (fingers crossed) They’d be done accomplished both by the time I reach the end of my 40’s. So it’ll be cool to see what my reflections I write at that time for sure.
Going into 40 while I’m working on my emotions towards it. One emotion I’m sure of and that’s the bittersweet moments. (Okay, the flood gates are about to swing wide open..) I miss my mother dearly. Every year, no matter what age I turned, she would always have her “mother-daughter” coming of age talk with me. My mother had experienced it all and seen it all so she was destined to tell me every year what the new age would hold for me and how I should conduct myself as a lady. It was her thing and I loved it. Every time I would get ready to turn an age, I would ask “Okay, mama when do I need to schedule my talk with you” – haha. If she was here I would have gotten my birthday present in February….lol lol. She always gave birthday gifts EXTRA early.
It’s funny because I wonder what wisdom she’d share with me in regards to the 40’s, I would give anything to have at least 15 min with her – but mama’s gone now…
Please help me say “WHOOSAH!!”
Moving Forward >>>
You know Life is unexpected and while living it – you’ll have your many ups, downs and coming out of nowhere situations but guess what – you just have to live it, make the best of whatever it throws at you and celebrate every…single…moment! I mean, every one of them, no matter how big or how small. Because we only are guaranteed one shot, some are lucky and get more – but you have to live it as if ONE is all you have and will ever get.
Embrace it, Cherish it, Hug, Love, Kiss and CELEBRATE!
I don’t know what this next phase will hold. I’m sure like with everything else, there will be many ups and of course some low downs but I’m praying for bigger and better accomplishments, I plan to continue to be on the grind and crush goals. I plan to produce one, two or more books to be published – prayerfully from a traditional publisher. Build my business (RoBCreative), raise these teenagers into something great (again, fingers crossed) and LOVE, give back and invest. I think love has finally found me, maybe i’ll be able to write about that someday.
Whatever comes and whatever goes, I’m standing with open arms ready to embrace it and like my doctor said, maybe the 40’s will truly be my best decade starting tomorrow and to infinity and beyond….I’M READY.
If you made it to the end of this post, Thanks for sticking around, I truly winged this one ; )
It’s been said that “Diamonds are a Girls best Friend” and while that statement may be true for some women and although “the diamond” just happens to be my birthstone. My diamonds were these best friends below…
Oh my gosh, you couldn’t get me NOT to wear a pair of 4, 5 or even 6 inch heels every day to work. I wore them so much, they actually became my staple. People knew me from the many different styles of heels I wore (Thanks JustFab!! – no this is not a sponsored post) but they too had become my best friend. I bought shoes so much until I literally had them take 39.00 out of my debit card just for shoes. Yes, too say I was addicted would be an understatement. I was so addicted I had well over 70 pairs of shoes – Yes, ALL HEELS #mydiamonds
People often wondered how I was
able to walk in those pointy killers every…single…day and I would just say, Oh
it’s easy….HA! It sure was, what they didn’t know and I shared this with a best
friend one time is that those shoes were easy because they were on platforms,
which brought a little comfort to my heel and forefront. Also what they didn’t
know was that most of those heels were harsh on my feet and toes, however; I’d
endure the pain because I didn’t want anyone to see me without them on….after
all, I had made a reputation for myself and sometimes, reputations are hard to
Well, the ending of the story
above is that when I moved to another job. I had high hopes of continuing to
wear my glorious heels but this job was different and caused me to walk up
hills and sometimes very long distances, I did that twice in a couple of 5
inchers and tore them slam up. It wasn’t long after that I had to move to an
new group of shoes that I thought I’d die if I was ever caught in….If you
guessed “flats” you’re so right!
After years of being on my job I’m actually thankful about both transitions, the job and the heels. Now I can’t even bare to stand up in a pair of heels without screaming….they hurt my feet soooo bad. I did take the picture below, and while my feet looked as if they were being premiered for the red carpet – my top half (in which the picture doesn’t show) was holding on to my shower curtain with dear LIFE!! and praying it wouldn’t fail me….ha-ha, if you could’ve seen the look on my face, it definitely didn’t match the bottom….lol
So, here’s my question to you. “Is it time for you to change up your shoes? Now that spring is officially here (although the weather seems to be playing peek-a-boo with those details) it’s the time of year where the weather is warmer and you know what that means, it’s time to get out the house and enjoy the weather, by either exercising and/or just enjoying a day out with family or friends. And our feet and the shoes we choose will play a BIG role in both of those activities.
Too tight shoes can cause issues with not only your feet but your posture as well. I have lower back pain today due to wearing high heels for prolonged periods of times. High heels place your feet in a very high and uncomfortable position, it stretches your arch completely out of shape.
Your feet can tell you a lot about your health and most often will show signs of concern before your other body parts get the message.
If you love high heels like I once did, it’s best to take a break from them and/or carry a flat pair of shoes with you so if your feet get tired or achy, you can switch into something a little more comfortable.
It’s also very important that you have the correct exercise shoes as well. I have to be honest, when it came to working out; I thought all tennis shoes were created equal. I didn’t think it mattered what you wore as long as it wasn’t heels during a workout (sorry, everyone can’t be like Mariah Carey), but boy was I wrong! I remember taking a Jazzercise class some years ago and always wondered why I felt fatigued during the workout. I didn’t think anything of it, just chalked it up to being out of shape. However I learned that yes, I was out of shape BUT I needed workout shoes. Ms. Roxanne, which was the lady that ran the class, began telling us about these special shoes that would help us in workout. The shoes didn’t look like much of nothing, but she promised they would not only support our feet but we’d feel better during workout…
Sixty-dollars later (in which I thought was a lot of money for a pair of ugly shoes) I was hooked! Those shoes were on point, not only did I feel better but I felt as if they helped me move better as well, they were good for my back and overall I felt really good. It was then that I realized that exercise shoes were not created equal and it’s not just hype. You really do need special shoes to exercise, for your feet’s sake and your health too!!
So to sum up this post – spring is here and that means it’s time to clean up the old and bring in the new, including a good pair of shoes. Your feet are very important, you need them and they need you to take care of them so they can take care of you.
While we’re now springing forward, make sure taking care of your most prized possession is able to move along with you.
*** *** ***
For more information on foot care and what proper shoes to get for exercising, check out these links below:
You cleaned up the OLD place and got your deposit back! (Yay!! – double check!)
Now it’s time to get Creative with your NEW space (Oh Yeah!!)
Of course these were clearly the steps I went through but hey, it’s really the process that all movers go through. Whether you’re renting or just bought your first OR second place. Finally getting in and settling down into your new digs can be exhilarating as well as extremely EXCITING!!!
I WANT EVERYTHING NEWWWWW!!!
Okay, so that’s how I feel every time I move. It’s almost like I don’t want ANYTHING that reminds me of my old dwellings – new space, new stuff – Right?? Well, that’s right if you have the money to do that sort of thing, I mean c’mon….none of us are Oprah nor Warren Buffet. However, someone may be close if that $750 million dollar Powerball hit this week (hmm, will it be you?).
But reality says, I don’t have it like that now and that’s okay. Tip: Save Your Coins – While you may be able to buy a couple of new pieces, you can still totally use the old pieces you had in the old place and place them differently in the new place. Which will make them look like they were new finds. It’s all about placement.
Things that worked and looked good in my bedroom or pictures that went so well in a hallway, when you get to your new place, putting those same items in the same space as they were in the old space may throw off the new space completely! Because you have to consider how the walls look, how they’re shaped (you may had fuller, wider walls before and now you have much higher, swooped or curved walls, you see what I mean?
Tip:Slow and Steady – While the excitement of getting everything up and nicely placed may be on the top of your list (because it’s always on mine, as I hate living out of boxes for 3 to 4 months) it’s best to take your time, lay your decor out and do a complete tour of your new space to see what looks good where or can fill in a corner over there.
Which brings me to my next Tip:Really?, Every Inch? – Every inch of wall DOES NOT have to be covered, that’s if you’re obsessed with this as I am. Try buying bigger/larger pictures to fill the space, such as the picture below from my own bedroom. Yes, it’s a large picture but it covers up much of the wall and guess what, not only is it light but it only required one nail.
Now, my next Tip:Nails vs. Thumbtacks/Pushpins – I say only use nails when it’s necessary and when you do, make sure they’re small. I prefer thumbtacks and I’ll tell you why. Thumbtacks not only make less than smaller holes in the wall but they can also serve as a guide until you make up your mind if that picture will really look good beside that sconce. You can actually put those items up using thumbtacks and if it doesn’t mesh well, you can always change it up without taking out that heavy hammer. That’s another thing that makes thumbtacks great….you can push in and easily pull out. Once you’ve settled on where you truly want things, then you can utilize nails, However….
Don’t underestimate the power of the push pin!
Apartment living has advanced so much since the 90’s and although I was still in school at that time, the little decorator in me had BIG dreams of one day having a very “chic” living space and that much I have accomplished, no matter what space, Big or small that I’ve lived in. I always wanted to make it an oasis for me as well as a home away from home for anyone that visited. If you’re a avid HGTV, DIY network watching type of gal or guy like myself and If you’re still renting, like I am for the time being then you may want to have a talk with your landlord about what you are and are not allowed to do to your new digs, in which the most common thing people usually want to know if they can do and that is, PAINT!
Less than a few landlords will allow it as long as you agree to paint it back to the original color it was prior to move in. BUT, if you can’t then that’s fine! There are a slew of stick on’s and peel and stick wallpaper such as this one here:
It’s things like this Brick Peel and Stick – Easily Removable Wallpaper, sold on Amazon that can easily turn your apartment or rental space from a boring space into a great space with just a few adjustments. It goes on easy and comes off easy without making a scratch on the wall.
This would go well as an accent wall or even a kitchen back-splash. Remember, all walls are not created equal so be sure to do a test run of any “stick-on” first.
Whatever your decorating style may be for your new space – have fun with it. It’s your new home and it’s readily awaiting on you to help give it a fresh new look.
Happy Decorating – Whenever you choose to do it that is…No rush!
SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TIME!! I want to take this time to thank and give a HUGE shout out to my most recent followers:
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!?”
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.
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..
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.
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.