One of the awesome things about planning our parent’s joint 80th birthday party was discovering information, hearing stories and finding pictures we had not known, heard or seen. I came across this never-before-seen-by me picture of my impossibly fresh faced, impressively attired, and incredibly gorgeous Mom and Dad before they became parents.
It was a reminder that my Mom had an identity before she became a mother, and enjoyed activities that didn’t involve my siblings and me. And that my Dad was barely out of college when he temporarily sought employment in Chicago to support his growing family.
The picture led me to a greater appreciation of all the sacrifices they made that allowed us to soar.
Inhale Gratitude, Exhale Taking for Granted… Inhale Appreciation, Exhale Disregard… Inhale Acknowledgment, Exhale Dismissal… Just Breathe
I’ve been reflecting the last few days on a couple of weeks full of #BlackGirlMagic and feeling so grateful to have been in the presence of amazing women, like…
Shanute Brewer, who is exposing her young VISIONaries to STEM subjects like coding;
Jamila Trimuel who is helping 9-18 year-old girls discover their purpose, passion and perserverance;
April Ervin, who just published her first book and is trying to help Superwomen save themselves;
Eva Kennedy, who is focused on helping women in transition find clarity;
the women of Mox.E who empower women to live their purpose;
Dr. Yashika N. Tippett, the founding principal of Air Force Academy High School, who just brought the first flight training program to the Chicagoland area;
Tammera Holmes, the founder and CEO of AeroStar, who is creating bonafide pilots for an airline industry with a looming shortage of them;
Young Women Professionals League members, who are focused on developing siSTAR leaders holistically;
Aunt Oprah and FFL (Forever First Lady) Michelle Obama, who are showing the way;
my sister Vanessa Smith, who has successfully led her business for over 20 years
and my daughter, Renise Alexander, who is pursuing her passion for travel by any means necessary!
I am so grateful for your examples of excellence, persistence and resilience. You inspire hope…you inspire greatness.
I’m a lifelong learner who prefers reading as my primary source of information. I suspect the solitude of reading recharges me in a way I don’t receive from other media.
So I am grateful to be here in the time of leadership gurus like my some of my favs, John Maxwell, Warren Bennis, Daniel Goleman and T.D. Jakes.
I am grateful that I can pull up over 40 English versions (plus audio!) of the Bible on my phone (thanks Pastor Craig for YouVersion)!
I’m grateful the Tao Te Ching has been interpreted by the late Wayne Dyer, that Marianne Williamson has shared her lessons from A Course in Miracles and that Iyanla VanZant has made lessons of her own life.
And when I’m not reading, I’m so grateful that a black woman created her OWN media empire which exposes me to thought leaders from a variety of perspectives.
I’m sopping up every drop of wisdom they have to offer, then offering what I’ve learned to anyone who wants it and thanking God for my “team” and my circle of influence!
Inhale Gratitude, Exhale Taking for Granted… Inhale Wisdom, Exhale Withholding Knowledge… Inhale Influence, Exhale Ignoring Needs… Just Breathe
At nine years and counting, I’ve now lived in Chicago longer than any place since I started my military career. I thought after 27 years of moving every two to three years, it might be difficult to stay in the same city. But not only have I been in the same city, I’ve spent these years in the same building!
So this last month as summer has lingered and I prepared to move into my new space, I’ve spent my mornings on the roof, enjoying the amazing view and being grateful for having a place to call home.
It is possible to have an appreciation for what others have without feeling that what we have is somehow inadequate. When we express appreciation and gratitude for what we do have, we attract more of what is promised to us.
“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
“God has not promised me sunshine That’s not the way it’s going to be But a little rain Mixed with God’s sunshine A little pain Makes me appreciate the good times Be grateful Be grateful” ~ Walter Hawkins
In November 2016, I found myself frequently focused on the negative…the untimely death of a younger cousin, the result of the election and the racism it exposed. So I spent some time listening to the Hawkins family…Edwin, Walter, Tramaine…which led to a search for the songs I sang as a member of the Afro-American Gospel at Alabama.
Listening, I was reminded to focus on the many, many, many things I have to be so grateful for…a healthy family, friends who have done their work, time to be still and reflect, opportunities to live on purpose, a safe place to rest, more than enough to eat, faith that sustains me.
There are a couple of things I want and absolutely nothing I need…for that I am grateful.