Holiday Family Survival 101

photo above courtesy of bing

Okay, so Christmas is a little over a week away and I’m sure if you’re like me and millions of other people, you’re going to be getting your bags packed to travel to the parents and/or in-laws house and depending on your relationship with either – it could be a dreaded day of pretending to like the current situation but in your mind, you’re on some deserted island with a margarita, a TV and your feet up (or maybe that’s my wish..lol), but anyways wherever your mind is taking you, I know it’s far far far away from where you want to be.

And, I get it because all families aren’t created equal, however it’s the holidays and you have to deal with the shenanigans and get through it especially when you have nosy or “busy” I guess I should say, family members whom ask you the same ole questions every year such as “So when are you going to get married?” or “When are you going to settle down?” or how about this one “So what happened to your last relationship?” andddddd…..”When are you going to get a real job, why did you quit the last one?” “You know you’re getting older right, so when are you going to give me a grand-baby” and the list of questions go on and on and on and on and on and, well you get my drift.

So, while I can’t provide you a magic wand ….magic-wandto make you disappear when that annoying uncle comes to you with another sob story of why he wants to borrow money, knowing good and well he’s not EVER going to pay you back…I provided a couple of tips that hopefully will help you sail through the day until you get back to your “normal” life.

1. Get Those Positive Vibes Cooking Before You Head Out!

You know the environments we encounter can really be changed, if we change our outlook on the environment. When you have what I call “stinking thinking” it causes everything around you to stink! Suddenly, instead of looking at the situation with a positive view, the only thing we allow ourselves to see is the negativity of everything and soon everything everyone does begins to get on your nerves and while the situation may not be the best one, we can only control our actions within it; for our actions are the only ones we have control over. If you change your outlook, you just may see things differently than what you’ve seen before.

2. Don’t Be Rude

Yes, I know you’re saying “That’s easier said than done” and while I truly understand; you have to understand that people will be people (family or not) and you have to take them with a grain of salt, It’s nothing wrong with speaking and holding a light conversation, if you have busy bodies for family members (as we all do) and if a conversation turns south or makes you feel uncomfortable, just let them know “Hey, you know what?, I’d rather not talk about that right now but what I do want to talk about is Aunt Rubies sweet potato pie, she put her foot in that pie” this way you’ve dodged them getting into your business and turned the conversation onto something else. Hey, they may be family but your life is your life and no one needs access to that unless you give them a ticket to sit in the front row of it.

3. Be A Team Player

Ever heard the saying “There’s no “I” in T.E.A.M” well that statement is very true, if your family is anything like mine, usually (it hasn’t always been) but it’s the time of year where people put old feelings to the back-burner for the day and everyone “pretends” to get along so well. Whether it’s just a show or not, take glory in the fact that for one day your family is actually deciding to get along. Join in on the conversations, games, laughs or whatever is going on – don’t just sit on the couch with your mouth poked out looking at people as if to say “If you say one word to me, I’m going to go off” Remember, someone out there wishes they had a family and our minor situations could always be worse off than what it really is. Enjoy your family for this special time, because we never know whom will or won’t be with us the following year. Life is short, enjoy the small moments even if they are only for a second….

4. Shift your Focus

It’s so easy to recognize the faults in people, we can pick those characteristics out like popcorn but when it comes to seeing a positive attribute, we struggle because in our minds we only want to see the worse. Each of our family members, including us are not perfect – someone may have said something to you that really scarred you, so much so until you don’t think you can forgive them. We’ve all suffered “family scars and hurt” unfortunately it’s more common than need be. My family is dysfunctional, they all have issues and I’ve had times in which I’ve said “They’re Crazy, I ain’t got time for that” and have distanced myself from them and while that little grudge lasted a little while, if they were to call me now, I would talk to them as if nothing happened. Every one of us have a little crazy in us, but someone still puts up with us regardless; someone took a chance on us, knowing we weren’t lovable or easy to get along with. Your family members may not be perfect but each of them have a special quality about them, choose to find and see that quality in them, instead of the worse side of them.

This will personally be my last blog post until January 2018. I pray your holiday season is filled with love, joy, happiness and PEACE!  Spend time with your family, you never know how special they are until you lose them.

Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas & a Very Happy, Prosperous New Year!

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Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Until Next Year!

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire More & Love Harder!

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8 Free Gifts You Can Give To Anyone, Anytime of the Year.

chistmas bow

As the Christmas season heavily gets underway, and while we all rush to get that awesome gift for the special people in our lives, I wanted to share a few gifts that we all should remember to give each day of the year. These gifts are all free and won’t cost you a dime out of pocket. The only thing these gifts require is a heart.

So, just in case you don’t have the money to spread a lot of Christmas cheer. I’m sure these next 8 gifts will fit the bill for their cost is far more precious than anything you can buy out of a store, as a matter of fact their all PRICELESS!

Check below and see which one you would like to give to someone this month, next month or years to come for all of these gifts can be used every single day.

 

 

gift boxes

#1. THE GIFT OF LISTENING:
But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response, just listening.

 #2. THE GIFT OF AFFECTION:
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family,friends, spouses or etc.

 #3. THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER . . .
Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.” Laughter is the best medicine, it heals in ways you can only imagine.

#4. THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE:
It can be a simple “Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life. While buying a card is nice, actually making one or writing a note is better. It let’s the person know that you actually took out time to care.

#5. THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT:  A simple and sincere, “You look great in red,” “You did a super job” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day. The smallest of words hold the most value. 

#6. THE GIFT OF A FAVOR:
Every day, go out of your way to do something kind for someone else outside of yourself.

#7. THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE:
There are times when we want nothing better, than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

#8. THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION:
The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it’s not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You or How are you doing today?, sometimes people just need a smile or happy face to let them know, it’s going to be okay.

Well that’s it, sometimes the smallest things/gestures are the ones that are never forgotten, people will lose a gift or even forget what was given to them but making someone’s day; is a feeling that will last a lifetime……Because (see below)

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Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire More & Love Harder!

How To Get Through Loss During The Holidays…

photo credit above courtesy of bing

I used to feel really sad for people whom went through the holidays without a loved one or someone to spend the holidays with because let’s face it, who really wants to be alone when the holidays roll around – no one. (I don’t care what they say..) but I always said a special prayer for people who lost a loved one, whether husband, wife, child, friend, pet – it didn’t matter, I prayed for them. At the time I had no clue as to what they were actually feeling but I tried to place my feet in their shoes for just a moment to imagine the pain they must’ve been feeling, although I never had….at least until last year.

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I mentioned briefly in this past Sunday’s Thought message of the difficult circumstances concerning my mom and what happened. I lost her five days after Thanksgiving and we funeralized her the first week of December, so needless to say Christmas went straight down the drain last year, it was also the first time since starting this blog that I didn’t write anything that whole month. Once January 2017 rolled in, I knew that it would be a really tough year – the only thing I kept thinking as each day and month passed by was the fact that “This time last year, mama was here.” which honestly has played in mind up until recently, when I could actually say, “This time last year, mama wasn’t here” – When January 2018 comes in, that will pretty much be a fresh start for me, the beginning of truly leaving the year behind and all the pain it held in it. It’ll also be a year in which, I can finally let mama go and begin to move forward and live my life as she would have wanted me too.

While the holidays bring their own type of vibe and it may be a little hard to celebrate the season because you’ve suffered a loss, rest assured that even though your special loved one isn’t here, doesn’t mean that you have to exclude them or yourself from still having a special holiday. Listed below are a couple of tips that I’ve learned and have done since loosing my mom and maybe they’ll help you or even a friend whom may be experiencing the “blues” this season due to a special loss.

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1. Talk About It, Get It Out of Your System…

Keeping my feelings to myself in regards to my mom dying suddenly would have been a train wreck had I not had a good support group. If you don’t have one, then talk to someone in whom you trust such as a pastor, good neighbor, co-worker or counselor. Trust me, keeping your emotions locked up only breeds fire – you have to get it out, so you can begin the process of moving forward and having a peace of mind in regards to the loss.

2. Keep the Traditions Alive!

My mom was a game player, she loved coming up with unique games in which people could win prizes. Now, don’t get me wrong; my mom didn’t make a lot of money, in fact she only received a disability check once a month but you wouldn’t have known that with the gifts she gave out. Every year for Christmas we pulled names as a family to exchange gifts and mama would invite people over for a unique Christmas game (I never knew how she could come up with such thoughtful games) afterwards, she would award the winner and the losers as well with some amazing gifts. She always made people feel good, no matter where she went and she always had some little trinket to give them, to make their day a little brighter. It’s good to keep memories/traditions alive when you lose a loved one, we’re so quick to want to forget everything once their gone, but we have to realize when we keep their memory open, their spirit will always be alive.

3. Time really does HEAL…

I can and will say that it will take time for you to heal, and you do that as often and as much as you need to, don’t let anyone define to you when you need to let go or stop crying…you do what you need to do to deal with your loss. Remember all the good times because those are the memories that are going to get you thru your toughest days and with the holidays now here, this time of year makes those tough days harder. Remember, healing also occurs when you surround yourself with positive, caring people. I’m still healing every single day.

4. Get Involved In Activities…

There’s a scripture in the bible that says, “An idle mind is the devils workshop” and boy that scripture couldn’t be further from the truth, the enemy works and toils with our emotions and when we’re down, feeling blue or even sad – he pounces on those emotions, his goal is to take you deeper into a “blue” place, so deep until it’s hard for your to come up to breathe. Find something that you like doing that will help take your mind off of your current situation, focusing on other things does not mean that you’re forgetting about your loved one. It’s just you letting your brain and body know that you have to keep them sharp and moving forward. You’ll have your moments and that’s totally okay, but when that moment is happening every day? It’s time to get up and find a hobby or get involved in a charity….maybe even one your loved one preferred. Just don’t sit and let yourself go because at the end of the day, “Would your loved one really want you to do that?”

5. Signs and Wonders…

I was in the break room at work a little shy over a month ago eating lunch, I always sit at the table in which has a window by it, once you sit down at it; the only thing you can see are the clouds. Suddenly, I thought to myself – “I wonder if my mom know how much, I loved her?” and no joke, it seemed like as soon as I said that my head immediately turned to look at the sky and I promise you – there was a heart shaped cloud there. I was sooooo amazed that I hurried and tried to get my camera up on my phone but when I looked back up, it had faded away. I know that sounds crazy, but I wanted to share that to let you know that even though our loved ones may be gone from this side, their on the other side watching over us and if you look around closely, you just may see little signs of them still wondering around, letting you know that they’re okay. So, be encouraged!

I hope this post was a little help and offer some comfort as you go on through Christmas and the rest of this month. God bless you and know that I am praying for you and while you’re on your knees, please say a little prayer for me too.

 

In_Memory_Life_Beautifully_Lived_Memorial_Candle
Carolyn Blackmon-Greene 10/22/1961 – 11/29/2016

You’re forever in my heart Mama!

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire More & Love Harder!

Sunday’s Thought: A $20 Bill and A Spot in the Shade…

I’m the type of person that believe in miracles, I believe in the unexpected. I’m very optimistic, I believe that anything is possible. However; I usually have this type of belief when it comes to other people, never for myself…lol. When unexpected miracles and blessings happen for people, I get SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited, I act as if what they’ve just experienced has also just happened to me as well. I’ve never been the type of person that gets jealous or become envious when nice things happen to people, I guess deep down inside of me, I feel as though being happy for them will in someway improve the…for lack of a better word – “karma” in my own life, but I guess the happier you are doesn’t always necessarily mean that, that same fortune will follow you or at least that’s what I thought, until last Wednesday happened….

Last Wednesday (29th), made one year that my mom has been deceased. I have to say, I really wasn’t looking forward to that day although I knew it was coming, no matter what I felt or thought – that time last year, I was at work when I got the news from my sister that my mom had slipped peacefully away from us. She had been in the hospital for well over a month and the doctors were coming in like every other day, not to give us good news concerning her condition – but worse news. First they told us, she had 6 months, in which quickly turned into 2 weeks and before we could try to adjust ourselves to that news, they announced “We don’t think she’ll make it to Thanksgiving” talk in which at that time was less than a week away; needless to say, she lived 5 days after Thanksgiving. So this year has been a really tough first year without her; getting through mother’s day was the hardest day of my life. But, here I was now facing the one year mark and thinking of how I was going to spend the day. I wanted to do something simple – yet – carefree for the day. I didn’t want to do social media and I didn’t, I sort of unplugged that day to reflect.

unplug

It was such a beautiful day last Wednesday, the weather was so perfect, it was almost like one of those days that the movies could only create, I remember thanking God for such a beautiful day, as last year it was rainy and cold on the very same day. I wanted to stay home but then I thought, what good would that do (an idle mind is the devil’s workshop). So I packed my lunch, went to New Bern and spent time with a dear friend. We walked and looked at shops and suddenly decided to go to the park to eat our lunch. Upon parking and getting out of the car to find a place to sit, I noticed two benches; one looked as if the sun was shining right on it and the other which was further away, looked a little shadier, as it was located near a tree. “Let’s go over there” I stated, once we walked over we began to eat our lunch and talk, when all of a sudden out the corner of my right eye, I noticed this lady fastly approaching us. As she came closer, I began to get a little paranoid; people just randomly walking up to you is not as innocent as it used to be and with so much going on now, you have to be careful. As she approached, I heard her say “Hi, I know you don’t know me and I don’t know you” I have to be honest, the first thing I thought was – “Okay, is she going to ask for cash?” – “What story is she coming over here with.” I mean, it is closer to the holidays and people are trying to get something for their children or themselves; I mean, it is the season of giving, right?

Now she was standing on the side of the table repeating her earlier sentence “I know you don’t know me and I don’t know you, but God just blessed me and I wanted to pass that blessing on to someone else” Immediately, I was stunned…mainly because I had already put up a defense guard but when she said that, I felt that guard slowly letting down. “I just want to bless you,” she said and she put a twenty-dollar bill in my hand and my good friends hand. “I just wanted to be a blessing to someone,” she said. I was so shocked and stunned by what she did and her act of “receive a blessing, pass a blessing” until I almost let her walk off without giving her a huge hug, in which I did when I snapped out of my trance. I thanked her again and again and again….”You’re welcome, Be Blessed” was all she said as she quickly walked to her car, I watched her as she drove away. WOWWWW!!!! was the only word all me and my friend could say. I suddenly raised my hands to God and gave him a big thank you!

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Her act of kindness was something that I seen happen many times over to other people, but never thought that it would ever happen to me. Now I know you must be saying “Well, it was just $20.00, but it was a true blessing to me as I went to my mom’s home town with little to no gas and was wondering how I was going to get back home, but didn’t really think about it much – so it was a right on time blessing and she didn’t even know about it, she just felt compelled to bless someone that day because she had been blessed and what a tremendous blessing it was!

Have you ever been compelled to do something out of the extraordinary and did it?

 

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire More & Love Harder!

A Quote Here, A Quote There – There’s Quotes Everywhere!

Well, since today is the last day of the month of November …andddd… since we’ve been discussing gratitude all month – I thought I’d end this month with a bang by sharing my 10 best/favorite gratitude quotes with you. You know gratitude is a little thing that means a whole lot – it’s the quality or feeling of being grateful and/or thankful. While we can look around us and all agree “What in the world is there to be grateful for?” and low and behold, if you tune into the news or social media outlets daily and view all the negativity it has going on, the whole world looks as if its going mad and it’ll make you want to throw in the towel and get mad right along with it, all of which can be very depressing.

Attitude of Gratitude

We can’t help what comes across the news just as well as we can’t help what other people do, how they feel or what they think. In this life, we can only control what we do, how we think, what we say and how we feel about certain situations; therefore, it’s up to us to look through all the negative junk and find a positive or I guess you can say “silver” lining in the world around you. There’s always something to be thankful for – in some cases you may have to look deep to find it but in most cases, it’s the simple things such as giving thanks for your life, health and strength, because someone, somewhere is wishing they had at least one of the three. Bottom line, the world may be mad but it’s not what the world does; but its what you allow yourself to see and how you allow yourself to react to it.

Listed below are my 10 top fave quotes – If yours didn’t make the list, then feel free to give me your favorite in the comments!

Your Top 10

  1. Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. Maya Angelou
  2. Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude. A.A. Milne
  3. What consumes your mind, Controls your life. Practice Gratitude. Unknown
  4. When some things go wrong, take a moment to be thankful for the many more things that went and are still going right. Unknown
  5. You gotta look for the Good in the Bad, The Happy in your Sad, The Gain in your Pain and what makes you Grateful not Hateful. Karen Salmansohn
  6. If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough. Meister Eckhart
  7. No matter what language you speak, a kind and smiling Thank You, Always speaks to everyone’s hearts. Unknown
  8. The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see. Dr. Robert Holden
  9. What if you woke up Today with only the things that you thanked God for yesterday? Unknown
  10. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

Do you have a favorite gratitude quote?, don’t forget to leave it in the comments below!!

See ya in the next Post!!-1

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of A Blog, A Magazine. It’s JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud, Inspire More & Love Harder!