Heaven Called for a Phenomenal Woman

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To a poet, activist, leader and a Phenomenal Woman – 86 years of grace, pride and confidence. Dr. Maya Angelou, you can finally take a break. Rest in blissful peace. Job well done.

What is your favorite Maya Angelou quote?

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“Perfect Imperfections” – Part 1 – Why You Should Stop Trying To Live Up To Perfection

Growing up, boy did I put a lot of unnecessary stress on myself.

Even at a very young age. I’m talking first grade young, so like 6 years old. I remember growing up in Arkansas, one of my parents would take my brothers and I to school. My oldest brother would always get the privilege of getting dropped off first – so not fair!

I felt like I had places to be, things to learn, tests to Ace. How could you do this to me mommy?!

Well, seeing as we were always either barely on time or running late, as a junior high student, my oldest brother being tardy actually meant something. But the way I reacted, each and every morning – you would have thought me being tardy meant the end of the world.

Cognitive of time, I cried my little eyes out. I hated being late. Not only was it just not right, it was embarrassing, I never got to enjoy the play time before the bell rang for class to begin, and worst of all – it knocked me out of the running for having perfect punctuality.

Attendance – now that was an even bigger issue for me. I wasn’t ’bout to miss no days, huney. Sick, tired, chicken pox and all – I demanded to go to school (thankfully didn’t have to worry about the chicken pox scenario, ‘cus I’m sure I would’ve lost that battle). I hated the thought of getting behind. What if I missed an important lesson? What if I missed something amazing that only happens once in a lifetime? What if, (Uh Oh), I missed a key assignment that would have aided in me learning something for an upcoming test, which then would cause me to earn anything below an A+?

Oh, no. I wasn’t having it.

And God forbid I don’t receive the ‘Perfect Attendance’ reward at the end of the school year, among my other honors, I would have a fit. * flashback moment

~ ♥︎ ~

Achieving perfection was something I had naturally always fought for. I wanted to be the best. And to me, the best meant perfect. But as you may know, perfection is merely an illusion of the imagination. What may be perfect to me may be a disaster or mediocre to someone else.Stress Meter Showing  Panic Attack From Stress And Worry

The determination of reaching perfection in all that I did only made me sick, literally. The stress “perfection” caused me over the years, built up inside of me. My stress level was out the roof. I developed bad anxiety. I welcomed thoughts of negativity and self-doubt. Taking on the task of being perfect meant I also took on a persona of being perfect. So what did that mean? That meant I began caring absolutely too much about how I was perceived by others.

Even when I knew I was doing an excellent job, the unknown thoughts of my peers ate away at my confidence, thus making me insecure about not only my abilities but also my decisions. I second-guessed every move and decision I made, asking myself, “Well how would xyz take this? How will that make me seem? Is that the right thing to do? Maybe I need a few other opinions…” I no longer trusted myself to make the right, sound decisions alone.

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Who gets to judge accomplishing perfection? Because if we simply judge perfection for ourselves, will we ever be good enough to stand tall against our own standards? If we judge perfection of different situations, things, outcomes, others, and etc, individually… What makes his standard of perfection any better (or worse) than my standard of perfection?

Absolutely nothing. Our individual thoughts, feelings, experiences, and definitely societal norms, shape our perception of perfection – which (good news!) makes “perfection” totally subjective, thus arguable.

~ ♥︎ ~

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So, I challenge you today to stop conditioning yourself to achieve “perfect” outcomes from your “perfect” goals. Let the idea of needing to be perfect go. It’s simply unhealthy. And be careful of the thoughts you feed your brain. Just as you protect your money, protect your mind and thoughts. Your mindset is the difference of you being happy or defeated.

Instead, here’s something to feed on: begin to love who you are and believe in yourself and your capabilities. Be OK with those quirky things about yourself that you or others view as different – those traits are your unique perfect imperfections. So stop wasting time telling yourself how you wish you were… or what you wish you had… and instead live in the now and strive for excellence. The difference of striving for excellence as opposed to perfection, you ask? A wholeee lot (chuckles).

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Perfect Imperfections”   :)

xoxo

5 Good Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Library

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When I was around 3 or 4 years old, I remember my mother took me to the local public library. I was an avid reader by that age, whether I read the words correctly or not, I was a true storyteller – sharing an elaborate story based off its illustrations alone.

So going to a place that housed so many books, on top of books, on top of books… I was right in literary heaven! From colorful picture books to interesting topic-specific fact books, I wanted them all to come home with me. And with my new library card in tow, the library became a weekly venture for my mother and I.

Why should you make sure your kids take occasional trips to the library? Christine French Cully, Editor in Chief of Highlight Children, provides these 5 Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Library:

1. Regular library visits inevitably leads to more reading.

  • Remember, within the first 5 years of a child’s life, their brain and knowledge is working at a faster rate than it’ll ever work. So go, feed that baby’s brain. They’ll thank you in a big way later, after graduating from an Ivy League university ;)

2. When you visit the library, you can expose your kids to more books and magazines than you can afford to buy.

  • Take home as many cool books as you can carry out to the car. Then after that load is read, return it and get a whole new pile of books. Explore the many aisles of the children’s section and allow your kid to pick up his/her favorites. It doesn’t get much better than that.

3. Your local children’s librarian can recommend books that you may not know of or think to suggest, broadening their tastes and expanding their minds and vocabulary

  • Constant learning and exploring their imagination is the point, right? :) And you’ll be surprised – by what books you may see as random – your child fall in love with and want read to him/her every night

4. Library time is active, not passive

  • Libraries often host events where they bring in animated storytellers, different engaging shows and even the authors themselves come in and interact with the kids. Connecting with their favorite books and its authors along with the other little library goers, really gives the children an invaluable experience.

5. Owning a library card teaches kids responsibility.

  • Owning their own library card make kids feel responsible and important. They learn to keep up with it and value their belongings.

To read the entire, original article, click here.

How about you – what are your library stories? Do these 5 reasons sound about right to you? Or based off the 5 reasons will you now take your kids more often? Let us know below! :) #SomethingAboutCeMarie? She loves books!

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Work Cited

Original article is courtesy of Huffington Post.

View the original article here.

“I didn’t raise no follower…!”

The only thing we need to follow is our dreams. Otherwise – we choose to be avant-garde leaders ♥︎ ♡

“Don’t you find it odd,” she continued, “that when you’re a kid, everyone, all the world, encourages you to follow your dreams. But when you’re older, somehow they act offended if you even try.”
― Ethan Hawke, The Hottest State

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“People who lack the clarity, courage, or determination to follow their own dreams will often find ways to discourage yours. Live your truth and don’t EVER stop!”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

~ ♥︎ ~

“Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.”
― Ray Bradbury

Note from Kola – #BringBackOurGirls

Guess what!

I received a letter from my friend Kola! If you would like to read the letter I wrote, you can click here. I came home from school today and my mom handed me her letter. I was so excited I read it right then and there!

My Dear Friend CeCe,

I am so happy to speak to you again. I know it’s been over a month since we last spoke but it’s been scary around here. I was taken with a lot of other girls away from the school. I managed to escaped alone the night I was taken. I was so scared but I kept thinking about my mother and father and brothers and told myself that I mustn’t be afraid. So I became brave – like the ninja we always talk about!! A nice family took me in, fed me, then helped me find my way back to my village. I was so happy to see my family! And my friends and everyone else. But, I learned that a lot of my classmates, who have become my family, did not return. I am sad. So much is going on.. I am scared. Also..I have bad news.  I do not know where Lulo is. No one knows where she is. I couldn’t stop crying for days when I came back. I pray for her and everyone else everyday. I do not know what the future holds but my mommy told me everything will be alright. But I don’t know. ‘Cus if everything will be alright, why did we have to leave our home? I think mommy is looking into moving away from here, she kept asking me and my brothers questions about other places. I miss Lulo, Ce. I miss her soo much. I miss you too! A lot has happened around here. I wish I could just video call you but we aren’t at home anymore… ♥︎u. I’ll be in touch

Kola

If you would like to read more about bringing back our girls, click here and learn more about events and support groups for the movement here.

#BringBackOurGirls. Now.

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The above story is fiction. It was written to keep awareness going about #Bring[ing]BackOurGirls – there is still more work to done. Please do not be blindsided by the Beyonce-JayZ-Solange situation. Let’s get back to finding these girls.

Yaass!! Time To Rise & Shine & Work At Our Potential!

Do you have an idea you’d like to bring to life? Or maybe there’s a new, more challenging, better paying position that is up for grabs that’s more closely related to what you have always wanted to do career-wise. Heck, maybe you have always wanted to learn a new skill or hobby, like how to crochet or knit. Whatever it is, why not pursue it?

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Will it give you more purpose? Help provide for you and your family? Breakthrough a mean cycle of settling and/or procrastinating? Or simply help you smile more often? Any of these reasons are enough to believe it is worth the risk, time and hard-work. Follow through with your right-brain’s nagging…  Still need some convincing?

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Watch & enjoy this quick, awesome video. It may just be the push you need… I use it every morning when trying to get out of bed at 5am. It’s a great reminder of WHY I set that alarm & have to get to it.

Notes to all the Special Mothers out there on Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day… Ce’Marie and I would like to wish all of the fabulous mothers out there a wonderful, happy day and year!

Here’s a special note from Ce’Marie to her mother:

“To my pretty, caring and hardworking mommy, I love you! :) :) You are shapping shaping my life to grow up and become a fun fierce, brave Queen, like you. You are our #1 fan – always going above and beyond to help us pursue our dreams. Thank you for believing in me and all of my bright ideas. I’ve been told my imagination is stupid and dreaming is for losers – and I believed it for 1 second until you told me it’s actually pretty unique and a good sense of wild. You taught me to not worry about what mean people say and to just enjoy being free in my imagination. I thank you mama for never belittling my dreams and instead telling me to shoot even higher than the stars… Momma, I hope you like my our card I we got for you – I really really hope so because I spent all of my allowance on it. ~ ♥︎ ~ P.S. it was alot of my idea to get you the bamboo plant, thought it would brighten up your desk while at work. I hear you sometimes talk to daddy about the stress of work, so this should help alot tremendously. I got Rewo [Ce’Marie’s older brother] to pay for it – I told him he owed it to us mommy ;) Ms. T [Ce’Marie’s school teacher] always says, ‘Keep up the hard-work, because someone is taking notice and another is always watching while the other is taking notes.’ I never really understood what that meant, until now (well more like 42 minutes ago when I asked Rewo). Well, I’ve taken notice of your hard-work and now I’m watching you while I take my notes :) xoxo, Ce’Marie Your Kids”

~ ♥︎ ~

And a note from the author of Ce’Marie books to all the responsible, great mothers out there who are making a positive difference in the lives of their kids and others:

I thank you.

I thank you for all of your hard work and dedication in raising strong, confident, smart, and loving children. We need more people, and especially more mothers, like you in this world! It is no easy task to not only birth a child but to also raise a child. Raising children takes strength, determination, money, PATIENCE and a good heart. So to all the mothers out there who are taking care of business and making it happen, I applaud and humbly thank you. And those of you superwomen who have to do it alone, I take my hat off to you. Today was designed in honor of the mothers and your persistence in making sure when it came to your family, sh* got done correctly, each and every time!

So… a toast to you, a beautiful future and a blessed year of happiness. Cheers! *clink *clink *clink

backgrounds-cute-happy-mothers-day-card-screenshot-hd-wallpaper-for-desktop~ ♥︎ ~

And lastly, the most difficult note to compose – a note to all the Nigerian mothers who are awaiting the return of their innocent daughters:

We are all praying for you. We want our girls back. We want our daughters back, and we want this NOW!  So #BringBackOurGirls!

I pray that they are safe and unharmed. I pray that God helps them get through whatever it is they are battling. And when they do return (I am talking this into existence), I pray they suffer no more. We love you all and wish you comfort in God’s word. You AND your daughters will overcome this.

Your daughters will remain in our prayers until they are declared well and in your loving arms.

Written with so much love, empathy and concern,

xoxo

R.

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Thank you for the beautiful pictures! (Picture Credits)