Lessons Learned!

I believe the saying goes, when life hands you lemons make lemonade. What if life hands you a $253 ticket in the middle of Alligator Alley? Lesson 1 learned: you do not need to rush to get to where you want to be, your best friend will be waiting patiently regardless of what time you make it to Tampa. Memories can be made a little later in the day and safety always comes first. So for the rest of my ride I cruised, thought about what a great weekend I had ahead of me and how many great people I’d be surrounded by.

What if life hands you a car that begins to shake uncontrollably on I-75 when you’re seven miles from the next exit? Lesson 2 learned: warning signs are red flags waving in front of you saying to pay close attention to what is right in front of you. So I pulled over, assessed my car, saw no clearly visible problems so I began to drive again (only 45 mph with flashing hazards) and reached out to my car-savvy father. He asked a few questions, told me to keep driving slowly and get off at the next exit. Before you know it… Lesson 3.

What if life hands you a blown tire in the middle of 80 mph traffic? Lesson 3 learned: remain calm in stressful situations, react quickly and get yourself out of harms way. Sometimes we overreact and cause greater damage. Then, I heard my front tire burst so I kept a cool head, quickly saw a pocket for me to get over and pull off to the shoulder and waited for AAA. Problem solved right?

What if life tells you to do it yourself. I’ve changed my tires before, I know how to jack up my car, properly, but I also would have tried to drive another 1 1/2 hours north to Tampa on a spare. (really Desiree?!) Lesson 4 learned: learn to accept help. It’s great, invigorating and empowering that I could handle myself but at this moment, you have nothing to prove to anyone. Accept help, wait for AAA and ask for assistance. Lesson 5 learn: everything happens for a reason. The AAA guy took one look at my tire and responded, “You are lucky you got a ticket early, it forced you to slow down and be more aware of your car. If you were going the regular speed limit when your tire exploded and split in half, there is a good chance your car may have flipped – just from the impact of the burst combined with your speed.” Said he has seen it one million times and never saw a car end up only needing a new tire.

Because I accepted assistance I learned that there was a WalMart two exits away. The guy said there is no sign for it but lucky for me he knew it was. I finally reached my final lesson learned, number 6: there is someone somewhere who has it worse. Accept the lemons that life has handed you and sit back, relax and drink some damn good, fresh, ice-cold lemonade. As I drove away from WalMart I waved goodbye to a very nice, G-d fearing man who helped me. While waiting for my car, learned that he had just been served divorce papers at work (after 25 years of marriage), in front of coworkers, customers and his boss. These papers came almost 1 1/2 years to date after his wife left him after they found out he had a fatal bone eating disease in both of his shines… He ran out to my car and thanked me. He said two hours earlier he had a feeling that his world would be turned upside down. He said my positive attitude – in the face a very eventful road trip – reminded him that someone somewhere was going through hardships as well. That my powerful presence told him, “This too shall pass.” With that he wished me safe travels and I was on my way. Smiling from ear to ear, laughing hysterically at the events of the day, elated that a speeding ticket saved my life.

Lessons Learned :)

My Inspirations.

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To the amazing women in my life, I love you, I respect you and I cherish our friendships.

This blog post is for a specific handful of women that I know. Without embarrassing you by naming names I will identify you by saying this: If I hugged you tonight, possible once, twice or even seven times before the event was over; if we caught each others eye from across the room and made a quick funny face at each other; if you told me that you would give me the moon if you could; if I addressed you by name and then quickly embraced you in my arms; if I asked you a question that delved deep into what is really going on in your life; if when our eyes met we didn’t need to say anything – just hugged; then this message is for you.

You inspire me beyond my wildest dreams. You have given me the courage to be who I am, to speak my mind and to let my positivity have no bounds. You are amazing. You have curves, a beautiful smile, and a personality that could brighten the darkest corners of the Earth. Your compassion is endless, your charity is generous, your time is precious and our friendships will be timeless.

“My age does not define who I am or who I should associate myself with.” – Desiree Whitehead 

I am Desiree Whitehead, a beautiful young black women, who speaks eloquently, loves sincerely, dreams often and shows that you should never judge a book by its cover.

Good night.

Help Me Give Back.

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DonorsChoose.org is an amazing organization that helps teachers create projects to raise money for their classroom essentials. My sister-in-law Samantha is a teacher at Wilton Manors Elementary School, situated in a low-socioeconomic urban community in Broward County.

For her project she has chosen to collect donations towards the purchase of an iPad Mini to use in small intimate learning groups with the hopes of encouraging interactive, 21st Century, educational learning. (The iPad Mini will fit perfectly in the hands of her 3rd graders). I wish I could help her get 20 iPads, but for now she is only asking for one.

Let’s take a moment to use social media for good, SHARE this message or simply go to the website to DONATE! Please don’t just like my status and continue to scroll – be proactive! Even if you give $1, you are really giving $3 because I will match all donations made by my friends and DonorsChoose.org will match dollar-for-dollar, all donations made before 12:00 midnight tomorrow, August 14th, 2013.

When asked why this project meant so much to her, Samantha responded: “With thousands of free educational apps, the iPad Mini has the greatest potential in the classroom setting. There are educational apps that help students who are struggling with reading, math and other subjects, not only to catch up to current grade levels, but exceed grade level abilities. The iPad Mini and educational apps can turn a struggling student’s negative educational experience into a life-changing positive experience.”

IMPORTANT: You must enter the code INSPIRE in all caps upon checkout to receive the DonorsChoose.org matching portion. 

What happens once Samantha reaches the goal donation amount?
Keep giving! Once the goal is met the donations roll over and are saved to be used towards another project in the future. Your donation will make a difference either now, or in the near future. (Samantha would love to have two or more iPad’s so that more group activities could happen simultaneously).

If you would like to read more about Samantha’s Project visit http://www.donorschoose.org/project/ipad-minis-for-21st-century-learning/1037018/?verify=522384309&more=true.

To learn more about DonorsChoose.org or to create your own project visithttp://www.donorschoose.org/about.

Thank you in advance for your time and generosity!

Friends Uplift The Soul.

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Keep people in your life who truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, enhance you, and make you happy. If you know people who do none of these things, let them go.   -Unknown

 

I love this quote and I wish I knew who wrote it! It’s simply stated and holds very true. I am blessed enough to be surrounded by intelligent, motivated, loyal, positive, caring individuals and I am honored to call them my friends. You all know who you are. You’re the ones who:

I turn to for advice.
Love me for me.
I can go without speaking to for months and we pick up right where we left off.
Understands that our lives are busy and never gives me the evil eye because of it.
I confide in when I am doubtful.
I laugh uncontrollably with just because.
I would do anything for.
I push to be better because I know you can be.
Make me happy.

If I wasn’t surrounded by such amazing and inspiring people my life would be so very different, because of them I am a better person. So if you get lucky enough to be graced with the presence of people who genuinely uplift your soul, hold on to them tight, show them you appreciate them when you can and NEVER take them for granted

Walking in a Haze.

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It’s hard to admit but for a long time I didn’t live my life. I went through the day-to-day actions but was rarely present. I seemingly walked in a haze for almost five years. Don’t get me wrong, I interacting with friends, family members and co-workers but did not genuinely connect with them. I felt as though I looked at people but didn’t see them, I listened to them speak but didn’t hear them – if that makes sense. I made excuses for everything; not advancing my career, skipping vacations, excluding myself from new experiences, staying in on a perfectly sunny day and so many other opportunities. I allowed not living my life to consume my life.

“You are 24 years old and doing NOTHING. You need to live your life and stop making excuses. Live…before it’s too late!”

Those are the words that one of my closest friends said to me last year. She definitely didn’t sugar coat it – hell, she ripped off the band-aid and proceeded to pour alcohol on my open wound. I truly needed that wake up call, and just like that I snapped out of my five year haze. In honor of my dear friends wake up call in January I promised myself that I would say no less and yes more (try to say that five times fast). Anyway, I know it sounds cliché but you do only live once (unless you’re a cat) so why not do it right the first time so you don’t have regrets or wonder what would have happened.

I am saddened because I waited so long but proud to admit that I am now living my life to its fullest capacity.

Food for thought: So often we pass judgment on people we meet day in and day out. We comment on how well they are doing, how happy they look and how incredible their life must be. Next time you have the urge to judge someone simply stop, look and listen – his or her story may surprise you :).

Smile. Stranger. Sunshine.

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Usually I go out looking for quotes, but today this quote found me!

I find myself laughing when my friends, family and colleagues tell me that I smile too much. They all poke fun at me saying there is no possible way that I always have something to smile about – little do they know, I do. I am healthy, my family is healthy, I’m breathing, walking, fortunate enough to be working, able to take care of myself and my puppy and the list continues – what isn’t there to smile about. I know that when I am going through the actions of my day-to-day routine and a stranger takes the time to smile at me, I value that encounter. Later, when I recall that moment of exchanged smiles I can’t help but smile again. I wholeheartedly believe that a smile is a gift that keeps giving.

Yes it’s true, I like taking ‘selfies’ and posting them on Facebook, Instagram and occasionally Twitter. Why not spread my joy? So often we scroll through Social Media to find ourselves surrounded by negativity, lost hope and anger. I intentionally throw positivity into their feeds to remind people that there is more in life to smile about. It is my deep desire to make my smile more contagious than a yawn. If for one moment my smile brightens someone else’s day then I am content. You may not know who your smile helps at any given moment so please don’t hide your smile with your hand or get bashful and turn away. Let the world see your smile. Someone somewhere needs it.

 

I’m Ready.

“Success is not the key to happiness;happiness is the key to success.”
                                                                    –Albert Sweitzer

find a dream you can follow

Earlier a good friend of mine said, “You don’t look like yourself today”. I paused, smiled and said, “Really, how so?” She couldn’t really put her finger on it but said she meant it in a good way. At that moment I realized she was right, I did look different and felt different.

Yesterday I dove head first into something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – I started my blog! This was the glow my friend must have seen – I’ve got my spark back. I was on the road when it all hit me – stop making excuses and do what makes you happy – write. I now find myself back stroking through topics, synchronizing words, diving through quotes and at the end of it all I feel like I’ve swam 400 yards – exhausted.

Immediately after my first blog post I felt unchained, tranquil, smitten – euphoric even. I have found my ‘thing’. My happy place is my blog. These days the pieces of my life seem to be coming together seamlessly – it’s my time. I was scared of success for as far back as I can remember but now I know I needed my sanity and happiness before I would be ready to accept success.

I’m ready.