My 29 at 29

Definitely at a crossroads

So here I am at the dawn of a new year of life….aahhhh 29. The last year before the big 3-0, the last year of my 20s, a year of reflection, a year of progression, a year of endless possibilities. So I must admit… boy was I sad on July 5 this year. I cried for about 20 minutes and couldn’t really explain why. I thought I would definitely be at a different place at 29. Married, kids maybe, but definitely owning some property and getting my piece of the American Dream, but alas Isaiah 55 8-9 began to resonate within me and so I had to know that my ways are NOT HIS ways and I have to be okay with where I am in life. Furthermore, Jeremiah 29:11 gives me the comfort in knowing that God has already planned my life before I came into this world. So after that I decided to shake it off, because there is someone in this world who will never know what it feels like to be 29! All that being said… I decided to make 29 a little different. First things first, I spent part of my bday getting rid of old clothes and things that I no longer needed. That was soooo cathartic. Shout out to my mentee Mia for the help! Next I finalized my list: the list of things that I was going to do at 29 that would help shape the rest of my life…. I borrowed some of the list from The Purposed Princess Blog and some of my list is just things I’ve always wanted to do and try so here it goes… My 29 at 29 (in no particular order)

1. Take better care of my temple – that whole you are what you eat thing is true, so I’m going to start eating much better.
2. Pray more – I totally believe in prayer and I’m going to do it more than I do now.
3. Cook more – save me some money and some pounds #FTW
4. Learn to say no – so…. I’m always saying yes. Kinda feel like Bey in the song where she says “it’s like the first time I said no, it’s like I never said yes”.
5. Take a class JFF (just for fun) – tennis, zumba, hot yoga, painting, and whatever else my heart desires.
6. Exercise regularly – I am definitely going to let this trifling spirit of not exercising go, my health depends on it so I’m gonna stop the excuses and just jump on it.
7. Learn to swim, ride a bike or maybe both – so yes I never learned to ride a bike but it’s never too late to learn right?
8. Walk in a race for something: AIDS, Autism, Lupus, Breast Cancer – these are just some of the issues that affect our community and I want to show my support for the cause.
9. Say something – so I have this thing with expressing my feelings, but I’m going to truly practice saying something!
10. Travel two places I’ve never been before
11. Send people cards in the mail – so for my birthday this year I received two cards in the mail and I thought it was the sweetest thing! So I’m gonna be that sweet to others too :-).
12. Unplug from technology – sometimes you just need a break from it all.
13. Read at least one book a month for pleasure.
14. Cut the straight pieces out of my hair or maybe even do a BC (big chop).
15. Blog/ journal more – I got stuff to say.
16. Lose 20 – 25 pounds – yes I’m still fighting with the scale, but this year I will be triumphant.
17. Get a passport.
18. Take a road trip somewhere.
19. Go hiking up a trail – I love nature, but I hate bugs.
20. Begin working on my book.
21. Develop my new hobby of painting.
22. Continue mentoring young people.
23. Treat myself to something nice on a regular basis.
24. Go at least one month without eating meat.
25. Become more organized
26. Finish scrapbooking
27. Love others as God loves me
28. Create a personal mission statement for my life.
29. Let go and Let God…. I’ll just lay back, kick it, and enjoy the ride!

There are already things that I do in my daily life that didn’t make this list. So those things will continue and I will just add these 29 things to everything else and continue to grow in God’s grace and love.

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29 Practices for 29

So in three days I’ll be 29; initially I decided to bring it in with little fanfare but I am definitely feeling some kinda way about that now. Oh well, you live and you learn. That being said, what will make 29 better than 28? I’m sure my life experiences will definitely have something to do with that, but this year I’m going to have to change some things starting with the woman in the mirror. I’m definitely going to start saying NO! No has never been in my vocabulary, yet other people make me secondary while I’m going to the ends of the earth so yes – saying no is #1. I’m going to do more for me: Unplug some days – just take a few days to disconnect from the world. Sometimes I just need my space ya know. I’m going to venture out into the unknown – hey what’s life if you’re not living – so look out dance or tennis classes – here I come!!! I’m going to take better care of my temple. It’s the only one that God gave me so I better treat it right…. soooo I’m going to wean myself off the junk that I put into my body… so long, farewell. I’ve got to start spending more time with God; like more than I already do…. God and I have been having heavy convos lately and I need to see what’s really up?! I also wanna continue traveling. I feel like I didn’t go anywhere this year (of course NYC – my fave) but I mean really travel and go. I don’t know…. I’ve just been feeling some kind of way all day and needed to vent to a place where people wouldn’t ask me to explain my feelings because I can’t, nor do I want to. I’ll be cool. Still coming up with my 29 practices for 29… Gotta chronicle this journey to 30.

So until I finish my list, I’ll leave you with an old familiar classic ~ “Life. I wonder, will it take me under? I’on know”

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I’m encouraged…

So this time last year you couldn’t PAY me to do any type of exercise. Now, I think I look at it as something I have to do and I’m loving it. I go walking up Stone Mountain every Saturday with my friend Rhonda and its tiring but boy is it exhilarating…I actually think I wanna start hiking up different trails. Its something about exploring the world God created that’s intriguing to me… Today I went hard on the squats and lunges so I’m happy! ME, God, and myfitnesspal.com are working this thang OUT!! It is my aspiration to be healthy and comfortable in my own skin… but in the process I’m going to begin hiking 🙂

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Ode to Capitalizing….

Gee thanks #Nightline… where would I be on a Wednesday night if it weren’t for twitter and you.
You have taken a plight that you really don’t care about and now look what you do…
You take an issue that is sensitive to most, chopped and screwed it at best
Please, oh please I’m begging you… GIVE OUR PLIGHT A REST!

Thank you… good night.

*exits stage left*
Nightline

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This is why I do it….

Ok so I have been at a point where I’m just ugh with everything and while I was looking for another paper, I stumbled across this… I wrote this four years ago and it reminds me that this—this feeling expressed in the letter— is WHY I do it

Words from the Heart…

When I graduated from college, my professors said “be stern, don’t smile; students won’t take you seriously if you do (smile).” However, I knew those directions would not work with you all. The way you eagerly entered 807 filled my heart with glee. I said to myself “this year is going to be special”.
On the first day of school we looked at each other with inquisitive eyes w0ndering “what next?” and “where do we go from here?” I remember hearing you ask each other “are we in the special class? Why do we only have two teachers?” Instantly, I knew you all were special but not because you lacked something but because you had so much to offer.
The school year began with us trying to figure each other out. You all did not quite understand my sarcasm and I did not get your humor but we finally connected all the pieces of the puzzle. As the year progressed we hit a few bumps in the road, but we learned so much together. We learned how to depend on one another, reprimand each other, cry together and accept each other for our differences. In the course of several months we created a family that was all our own. No other 8th grade team could understand our bond and often became jealous of our relationship. Nevertheless, we persevered.
We conquered the Middle Grades Writing Assessment and so many other obstacles. Although I stood in front of you daily as your teacher, you all taught me so much. You taught me how to live. You showed me that it is okay to let go and have fun and for that, I say THANK YOU. Many of you said that God sent me here to teach and protect you, however, I know now that God sent each of you to me to give me a new insight on life. Against my will, I had to release you into the uncharted territory of high school. Although it hurt me to see you go, your personal growth is what is most important. Furthermore, to each of you I say thank you for the gift of love and joy that you provided me with each day at FMS. Each of you in your own unique way holds a special place in my heart that will never be replaced.

My love always,

Miss Arnold

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I believe the children are our future…

In my “Randy Watson” voice definitely not in my Whitney Houston voice, I sing the lyrics to this song. Today I found out the most absurd thing…. a 12 year old’s parent took her to get a tongue ring. To protect the innocent I will definitely leave out her name, but let’s just say the mom should have been put in front of a firing squad for that name too… Anywho, back to the tongue ring…and maybe I’m old-fashioned but she (the 12 year old) definitely would have gotten a side eye for even thinking to ask me for that at her age. But then the bigger question remains… why did her mother even consent to this foolywang and allow this to happen. Only God knows but I definitely know all the floodgates have been opened now if getting tongue rings at TWELVE is the new norm. I don’t get it. I want to believe in this generation, I really do… believe me when I say I do. With all the mentoring, talking, analyzing, and agonizing that I do about the children of our future it’s a wonder I don’t drive myself insane. But there’s only so much I can do. I try to inspire young people to dream, hope, wish, become, and maybe one day I’ll see the fruits of my labor but until that day I’ll just keep believing that the children are our future….

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So I’m a Frog…

Today I went to see one of the best movies I’ve seen in quite some time… “The Princess and the Frog”. Initially I just thought this was going to be your typical Disney movie but I was definitely wrong… This movie had so many underlying messages and themes that resonated to me as a person in that “in between” phase of life that I just felt compelled to share a few…

Lessons from “The Princess and the Frog”

1. Hard work actually does pay off – as trite as it sounds, that was one of the main points of the movie. Although the protagonist faces adversity and often becomes disheartened by disappointments, all of her hard work pays off in the end. So this reminds me not to grow wary in my well doing for in the end I shall reap if I faint not… I’ve gotta keep pressing on

2. See the trees AND the forest – we often hear of someone missing the forest for the trees or vice versa but this movie lets us know that we need to recognize both. Don’t be so busy working and doing that you forget to just live and be. In this blackberry driven society, it is very easy to be so consumed with everything but yourself and your own contentment. This spoke to me because I am definitely a member of the crackberry club, so my goal for 2010 is just to simply live and stop looking for ways to be busy and avoid my own happiness.

3. Appreciate the “in between” – basically appreciate being a frog… and so this is where a dear friend and I had our major epiphany! We’re FROGS! There were many people who had a major problem with the fact that Tiana remains a frog throughout most of the movie, however, I see a bigger picture… Her being a frog is actually her going through a process… As a frog she learns many valuable lessons, many of which help to shape her future. So what I’ve learned from this is that I need to just learn… instead of complaining and hoping and wishing, I just need to learn. God is definitely trying to show me something so now I need to open my mind and learn.

4. Expect the unexpected – no this is not a new lesson but it definitely is one that hit home in the movie… Tiana’s life changes in so many ways but it all comes together in ways she could not begin to imagine in the end… so instead of planning, I’m just going to let God work HIS plan and expect the unexpected

All of this from a movie, especially a Disney movie, you may say; but these lessons could not have come at a better time for me. As I prepare to enter 2010… I’m convinced that this year has great things in store and I just need to remember that although I’m a frog right now… I’m emerging into a princess

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