Hello Spring….

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Spring is finally here.  Well technically and according to the calendar it is.  I’m soooo happy for the change of season, the blooming of pretty flowers, leaves budding on trees, children out playing and renewing of my spirit.  Can’t you just smell the pictures and feel that water flowing down?  It’s so calming and welcoming for the new season that is upon us.  Spring is in the air….let’s all inhale and exhale right now.

It’s time to look at everything as if it’s new, like Easter Sunday when I was a child with my brand new outfit on.  I’m putting on my new outfit and heading out to show it off…well sort of.  With our recent move, I gave away a lot of clothing and other household items that I no longer use.   That’s a lot of layers, because I’m one of those women that will hold on to things when I’m not using them, so it was a big move for me to give away most of my clothes.  If I hadn’t worn the item in two years, they were donated.  Funny thing is my style has changed a lot, I’m more comfort based, rather than fussy and dressy like I used to be.  I still like to dress up, it’s just very different for me now.  And the shoes I gave away…..wow, that was hard.  I love my shoes, but same thing, I hadn’t worn half of them in over two years and I don’t wear anything over 3 inches anymore and they have to be wedges.  I know some of you are cringing at this, but that’s a fact of life for me now and guess what….I’m ok with that.

 

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I also did some spring cleaning a few weeks ago, finally started some minor repairs on the house.  We have major cracks due to the house settling and had those cracks filled.  You would have thought I had new windows put in.  I was so excited about it, those cracks were so ugly.  I’ve even started picking out interior paint colors for all the rooms.  The girls have picked theirs as well, my oldest wants a light pink and the youngest wants a light blue or white, she hasn’t decided.  The two pictures on the right above are the same spot, I just took the picture up close a bit more.  Although I know it’s gonna cost money, I can’t wait to finish with the repairs.  This is major for me as I have an issue with finishing things.  

 

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This is necessary in my kitchen, Cafe Mocha central.  The reason for the two Keurig’s, the new one doesn’t allow you to use your own coffee, you have to use the Keurig K-Cups and that’s the only thing it will take.  So glad I kept the older one because I like to try a variety of coffees and they aren’t all K-Cups.  Gotta have my coffee.

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Be True To Yourself

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I am a very personal woman.  It’s only so much I’m gonna share with friends, family and the internet, but I must remain true to myself and my purpose.  

For the last four years, I have been seeking employment.  I have worked from home as a customer service representative for two different work at home companies.  It kept money in my pocket but wasn’t what I wanted to do.  During that time, I started this blog in December 2011.  I met some wonderful women who were all sharing their stories.  I was able to write for a parent style blog for a few months until I realized my worth.  I wrote a few blog posts for other blogs.  I wanted to attend some of the blogging conferences, you know what all the popular bloggers were doing.  To be honest with you, I would still love to have the opportunity to attend at least one.  I loved blogging but life called, it had a different plan at the time.

Last year, things changed.  Finances became crucial in our home and I had to step up my game to find a job.  I put everything on the back burner, blogging, my Etsy shop, everything.  I found the job and realized one thing…I love and appreciate being self-employed.  I absolutely hated that job.  I know that’s strong, but it’s the truth.  I’m not going to bash the company or anything like that, it actually helped me realize what I knew about myself, and for that I’m grateful.  I wanted something completely different.  When we made our move last month, I started once again looking for a job.  That is a stressful, depressing and tedious job.  I have allowed it to set my mood for the day, doing online applications, assessments and waiting for a phone call, email or both.  

So….time for me to be true to myself and achieve some goals that I’ve set.  I’m a smart, talented woman with so many dreams and ideas.  The NO that likes to surface is just gonna have to take several seats because I’m sick of it holding me back.  Life keeps moving and I’m tired of missing out, time to be true to myself, dreams and desires…how exciting!

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TV, Reality and Social Media

I like watching TV, movies and crocheting at home.  That’s how I do it.  My goal is to make my home comfortable for me and my family.  I like the following dramas, Empire, Scandal, Being Mary Jane and The Have and Have Nots.  I also love anything on HGTV and DIY.  My latest is Netflix (I know I’m late).  My daughter begged me to get a Netflix account and yes, I’ve watched every episode of Orange Is The New Black and patiently await the start of season three in June.  

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Photo Credit Fox.com

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights are my evening shows.  I get comfortable, get my iPad out and it’s on!  Facebook and Twitter timelines starts really rolling.  I DVR all the shows because sometimes I miss something important for trying to keep up with my social media while watching.  There are times though when I don’t check social media until the show is over.  I understand why Netflix or Hulu is so important now, uninterrupted episodes.

Lately on my Facebook timeline are people who disagree with the love and popularity of the hit show Empire on Fox.  Comments range between we are buying the propaganda and we shouldn’t watch the show because it portrays black people negatively.  I remember when The Cosby Show was in its heyday, we complained saying that’s not how black people really live.  I’m letting go of the responsibility that we need to make America see black people for who they really are.  My life is not like the fictitious show Empire or The Cosby Show, I’m a middle-aged woman from the Midwest with a husband with a combination of six children and four grandchildren.  That describes more women than the ones on TV.  I know the difference between reality and entertainment.

I will not comment on these type of posts because most of them are former church members and their comments are very judgmental and the discussions go on for days, and they are entitled to their opinions.  I don’t have time for that.  One thing I’ve learned and am still learning….stop judging.  I know it’s hard, but I make a conscious effort to practice it everyday.

Enjoy life and if it’s watching Empire, The Steve Harvey Show, Fixer Upper or crocheting and blogging….do you and what makes you happy.

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Life’s Happens…Now What?

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Life happens…now what?

Last time I’ve blogged (and it has been awhile) I was feverishly looking for a job and trying to work as many hours as possible from my contractor job.  That was last summer around July.  So much has happened since that time.

I got a full-time job with United Health Care, stopped working from home as an independent contractor, and we have moved back to our home in Grandview, Missouri once again.  I told my husband we are getting too old for moving, it’s hard on your body.  This also means I had to quit my job at United Health Care and dedicate myself to moving back into our home and slowly renovate it.  My head is still spinning..really.  My plan is to blog about this experience.

It was a struggle getting back into the world of brick and mortar employment, but I welcomed it and went in like a champ.  I was the second oldest in the training class and everyone addressed me by “Ms. Whitney”.  Very humbling experience, but they were all very nice and respectful to me and the other two “older” women.  I learned my job, passed my assessments and did a pretty good job.  We worked a lot of overtime which broke me down, 10 hour days…yeah that will do it to you if you haven’t done anything like that in over four years.  I was grateful for the experience but look forward to my next job opportunity and you know I have a few ideas up my sleeve.

I still have my Etsy page, Cafe Mocha Creations and continue to crochet as much as I can.  I am so glad I started crocheting again, it’s relaxing, takes my mind off anything I don’t want to think about and I’m good at it.  I taught my oldest daughter and we are serious “hookers” as they call it.  I would like to design and create a few items for the plus size woman and continue making accessories for women and men.  

Even though I haven’t been blogging, I have managed to stay on top of my social media accounts and hope to reconnect with you all again and meet new people along the way.  I started blogging as an outlet and then wanted to make money from it.  Once I started doing that, it took away my enjoyment of it, my writing outlet.  I’m taking it back to the beginning, blogging about my life as a middle-aged woman, how life takes you up and down and how I manage to keep my head about water.  Here’s a few pictures of our life for the last 7 months.  The cafe is open again!

 

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My young ladies….

 

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Recent work, yes I made my daughter’s dress for homecoming…nice huh?

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Change Is Good

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Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap

 

We resist it until we have no choice….C H A N G E.  Why are we like that?  Change is nothing but an opportunity to move you in the direction you need to go, like going towards the rainbow.  Looking beyond where you are and seeing what’s ahead of you.

 I have resisted changes or challenges and have accepted some at the front door.  Seems like I’ve been in change mode for the last 4 years, I kid you not.   Maybe we shouldn’t look at it as change, it’s what life is made up of…a winding road that turns corners, yield, stop, fork in the road and all other kind of signs.  Change is good.

My children are growing up and becoming very independent from me and it’s really starting to hit me now with my oldest about to graduate from high school.  She is so eager to start her adult life, working, continuing her education.  This change here, I’m still trying to adjust to it.  I find myself looking at pictures of them when they were my sweet little girls, so cute and adorable.   Last weekend while we were out prom shopping we were talking about how much they used to love the merry-go-round.  I asked them would they get on it and ride and let me take a picture for old times sake.  That was a negative for them.  I get it, they aren’t my little girls anymore who used to love riding the merry-go-round.  Change is good.

My mind, body and soul transitioning into maturity is a BIG change and the one I’m most resistant to.  It’s truly by the grace of God that I’ve been able to hold on and not lose my complete mind during this stage of my life.  Change is good, but God this one here…..whew!

When I became a single mother, this change scared the hell out of me.  Talk about lonely.  I had people all around me, friends, family, church family and I was alone.  I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself so I picked myself up, regrouped and made things work.  Change is good.

My career and business goals change, I’m up early and go to bed late, making sure everything I work on gets the attention it needs.  I love what I do, I love the creativity that has finally come out and shines in my life now.   Change is good.

Whatever we go through, we have to remind ourselves that if it’s taking our lives in a different direction than what we thought, wanted or desired it’s change.  Yes we fight it, question it and sometimes cry about it.  Clear your mind, spend time and wrap your thoughts around it and if you can accept it after all that….then change is good.

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Comparison Shopping ~ Brand Name vs Generic Label

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I am the CEO of the home, I pay all the bills, buy all the food, manage the budget, etc.  The other day I needed to buy some cream of mushroom and celery soup.  I normally buy Campbell’s but I looked at the price of one can of soup and decided it was time to do a little comparison shopping.  I looked to see where the generic label soup was and here was the difference ~ Campbell’s was $1.79 and the generic label was $1.00.  I looked at the labels on each and there wasn’t a difference, so I purchased the generic or store label.  The ingredients were basically the same and I honestly couldn’t see why I would pay so much more for Campbell’s.   I do it for the sake of peace at home.

 

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Let me give you a little history…

When I was a single mother, I would buy generic can goods and some food from Aldi.  I tried a little bit of everything, scratch & dent sales, coupons.  You name it I tried it.  Finally I decided to shop the weekly ads and that started working for me.  I would do the weekly ads and Walmart.  A co-worker came to me with this concept her church was promoting, it was a monthly program that you pay $25 and you get a box full of food, mostly staples, all of it generic label.  I did it two months and paid it forward for a friend that was struggling.  You had to pay in advance and on the first of the month, went to the church and picked up your box of food.   This worked for a while, but I didn’t like that you weren’t able to pick your food and some generic food just isn’t good, no matter how much you season it.  

Then I met my husband…

He does not buy generic anything, not one thing.  I explained to him when you are a single parent with two children, a mortgage, car payment and other bills, you budget, budget and budget.  I can remember eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches which was fine as long as my girls were able to eat a decent meal.  He called me cheap, I told him whatever.  I agreed not to buy generic for his sake and my sanity, but at times I can’t help it.  

It’s tough out there right now, gas in our area is reaching the $4 per gallon status, groceries are expensive and it’s more expensive to eat healthy.  I keep working that budget, rearranging things and try to make the best of what we have.  I’ve cut back a lot for the sake of the budget. 

What about you, do you shop generic or brand name?  Please share.

 

 

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Closet Cleaning

It’s time for me to purge my closet again.  This time because I have a lot of clothes that I just don’t wear anymore due to several factors, my style has changed and you can guess the other.    I have a more casual, relaxed way of dressing.  I have business attire and “church clothes”, I never was anywhere near First Lady status.  I’m a classy, stylish woman, my taste has just changed a bit.  With that, I’m gonna gather my clothing and look for a consignment shop for plus size women.  I have some very nice pieces, a suede suit, several pants suits, after five wear and much more.  I just don’t wear them anymore and some are too little.  Okay I got that out.  I have several pairs of shoes that I want to sell as well.   

My rule is if I haven’t worn it in two years, it has to go.  These items are way past that time, I just didn’t want to get rid of them because I wanted to hold on to a certain time in my life and I paid good money for some of the items.  One outfit I wore in a fashion show only, never got a chance to wear it out.  

Here’s part of my dilemma, I would actually prefer donating the clothing, but would like to raise a little money from some of the items.  I know someone would benefit from the suits for job interviews, church or whatever they need them for, but I have to admit I spent a pretty penny on some of the clothing.  I may do just a few items consignment and find a group where I can donate clothing for women in a shelter or a place like that.  I’ll be researching this soon, as I want to have the clothing donated before spring.   The pictures really don’t do the outfits justice, especially the off white one, it’s an after five, has sparkles all on the top.  These are just three of the outfits that I plan to giveaway or put on consignment.   

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Working from home has cause me to reinvent myself.  I have reinvented my style, well sort of.  It has to be functional and comfortable at the same time.  You won’t see me in moo moo’s,  or all polyester pieces.  I’m at the point where I don’t care for wearing jeans anymore.  I have three pair that I love and I’ll keep them.  I don’t wear 4 inch heels anymore, that’s as high as I would go.  I can’t walk in them and I’m not risking twisting my ankles any more for the sake of keeping up with my younger counterparts.  I’ll let you all have them.  I will continue to like them and put them in my Pinterest board, Lover of Shoes.   

So now it’s off to find a consignment shop in my area for some of the higher priced pieces and I’ll donate the work and play pieces.  I think that’s a nice balance.  How often do you all clean out your closets and do you donate, sell or do consignment?

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Loving Yourself

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Love ~ an intense feeling of deep affection.  Do you feel this way about yourself?  I do.  

Loving yourself is the best gift you can give to yourself and anyone you come in contact with.  A love that allows you to live your life without apologizing or fear.  Letting go of something or someone that is no longer healthy for you or your lifestyle.  Yes…loving yourself means at times to put your needs before the needs of others.  It’s not selfish, it’s necessary.

Sometimes it means being alone, giving yourself time to work out a situation, gather your thoughts, spend time praying or meditating.  Allowing disappointments, heartache or simply life to just be, not define you.  Love yourself enough to pick things up, sometimes allowing others to help when you need it.   Love will allow us to recognize when we need help.   It doesn’t mean you are weak, it’s shows your strength and how you are being honest with yourself. 

When you look in the mirror, I mean seriously look in the mirror, can you say to yourself,  I am beautiful….without saying the word BUT my dear sista?  I’m not saying don’t improve you life or health, but can you love yourself first?  How many women do you know that needs healing from this act of self-hatred?   I see them everyday on social media, sometimes I say something to them to try and encourage, other times I’ve sent an private message to them, and other times I let it go.  We change one person at a time and it begins with self.  How we live in real life and online, not appearances and what we think people want to see.   We must stop the self hate for ourselves and begin to heal our relationships with one another.

The way that God us is the way we should love ourselves, and it will reflect in our relationships with each other.  Love yourself mind, body and soul.

 

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My Word For 2014

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This is my word for 2014.  I know that if I keep this word in the forefront, I will be able to see the end and achieve goals that I’ve set for myself this year.  I get things done, take care of business but because I failed to organize a lot of things, I would forget, postpone and eventually get burned out.  I started with purchasing a planner, although I do that every year.  I have to write things down, I use my calendar on my computer but I need to have it open and sitting on my work space when I go to my office every morning.

Between my family responsibilities, keeping everyone organized and together, taking care of our home, cooking, laundry and cleaning, I’m very busy from the time I hit the floor at about 6:00am.   Once everyone is out, I get started after reading my bible and spending a few minutes praying and meditating, I turn on computers and look at my calendar.  Then I read emails, business and personal, do my morning social media accounts and do a little work for my contracted job.  Part of organization is cutting back on my computer time, gotta cut back a little here and there.  I love social media and depend on it for business, it’s very necessary.   Organization means using Hootsuite more to schedule posts for my accounts,  I know it will help.  

I’m also researching and writing for my blog and for Kokoa Magazine, working on my Etsy shop, looking for things I want to make and what direction I want to take it.  Then it’s time to start dinner and prepare for everyone to come home.  I have no time to relax, take a nap or anything like that.  Let’s not think about a day I have to throw running errands in the mix.  After dinner, I try to spend a few minutes with my husband, he’s usually in the bed around 7:30 and falls asleep paying solitaire on the iPad.  I go spend time with the girls, talking and check on their day, making sure my kitchen is clean before they go to bed.  I will wake a teenager up to clean my kitchen.  Then I settle down, grab my yarn and crochet hook and watch some of my favorite shows.  I can’t stay up past 10:00.

When I put it in writing, this is a must in my life, mostly to help me keep my sanity.  So far, so good.    Did you set a one word goal for 2014?  Please share with me….

Have a marvelous weekend!

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2013 Roundup

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Whew, it’s that time of the year again…out with the old and in with the new.  What can I say about 2013?  It’s been good & bad, rough & smooth, accomplishments & disappointments.  It’s been a plethora of everything.  It’s called life, I can’t dismiss it or say good-bye, glad you’re leaving.  I sit back, think about the year one event at a time, what achievements I’ve made if any, what improvements I need to make and plans for what I want to accomplish in 2014.  

I’ve learned a lot about myself, I need to organize my different activities.  I have too many things going on not to do this.  I already have my 2014 daily appointment book.  Every evening before I close up the shop, I’m gonna detail everything I need to do the next day and have my appointment book opened on my desk ready for me the next day.  I write for my blog, Kokoa Magazine, I have my contract work and my crochet business all which includes a certain amount of social media.  I will utilize Hootsuite more and schedule post for the blog, Facebook and my other social media accounts.  One of my social media accounts I’m going to work on is Pinterest.  It is a bloggers and small business owners haven, don’t sleep on Pinterest.   

Making changes to the blog, this may be the last year of the design.  I love it because it’s clean and easy on the eyes, but I want something that represents me a little more, my style and revolve the changes in life I’ve made.  I want to include info on working from home because I’m becoming an expert at that.  I want women to know there are options out there for us and if you are growing tired of working outside the home.  It’s not for everyone, but I’ve been doing it for almost 3 years and I’ve adjusted.  It was hard this year looking for work outside the home.   This was a struggle and I want to give my expertise and help anyone wanting to transition to working from home.  

I was reading my recap on Diva’s With A Purpose ~ Divatude Challenge 2013 and I’m very satisfied with my achievements for this year.   I’ve discovered a new love for crochet, something I’ve known how to do since I was 10.  I would crochet things occasionally but never considered doing it as a business.  I find myself crocheting everyday and feel I’m missing something if I don’t have yarn and a crochet hook in my hand.  At this time, I want to take my Etsy shop and concentrate on a what sells well for me and what people like most.  I have a series of accessories that I will be introducing for spring, excited about things.  I plan to change the name of my crochet business, to keep it with the brand I’ve worked t build.  I’m still learning the concept of having a crochet business, I’m following and have met some wonderful women who are willing to share their information.  I actually wouldn’t mind teaching a beginning crochet course, something else I’m considering adding to my already busy schedule but I love it.

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My word for 2014 is ORGANIZATION.  If I balance all my activities and keep myself organized, then I can get the things done that I need to accomplish on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Family life ~ I have a lot going on with the girls.  Graduation and prom is the same weekend which is good…I guess.  Everything can happen all on one weekend and we can get everything taken care of.  It’s time to start applying for community college, we are going to start there see how she handles it and go from there.  She also wants to work, she wants to do it all.  I can understand wanting to work and earn your own money, but I need her to understand that we need to take everything in small steps.  I don’t want her overwhelmed and having a meltdown.  Pray for me please.  

The youngest, I plan to find some theater for both of them but especially my youngest.  Band camp and other extra activities to keep her busy.  She’s addicted to Instagram, no Facebook & Twitter for sure.  I monitor it so nothing crazy going on.  She does this roll play thing on there with people and they tell stories.  She has a great imagination, I bet she’ll write, not sure what, but I can see writing in her future.  The hubs is fine, working hard and being himself.  Wouldn’t have it any other way.

 We spent time with our families this past summer during our trip to Chicago and Omaha.  I love spending time with family.  I hope we get to go to Texas this year to visit our daughter and son-in-law who moved here from Germany.   My husband hasn’t seen his daughter since 2001 when they last visited the United States.  Can you say road trip????

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I know this was a long post, it was hard to roundup my year in 500 words or less.  Out with 2013 and welcome 2014 with me!  Love you guys and see you next year!!!

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