The Amazing Lesson in Philanthropy on Earth Day
Education

For nearly 20 years I’ve worked to advance the missions of nonprofit organizations. I’ve worked in different fields, from education, healthcare, faith-based and social services raising money to change lives.  Having the opportunity to impact the lives of those in need of the many services provided was a blessing.

That’s why I’m excited about today! Today is Earth Day, and we all have an opportunity to make a difference and enjoy a great movie! The Disneynature documentary Born in China released yesterday, will benefit the World Wildlife Fund through the Disney Conservation Fund, with a minimum donation of $100,000 during opening week. 

Motivated-Mom-Blog-Post
Photo Credit: Disneynature

Born in China is a great film capturing its characters – a mother panda raising her cub, a family of adorable monkeys, and a female snow leopard raising two kittens in real-life conditions.  The movie takes you on a journey into China for more than a year, documenting the challenges of the three animals’ families’ ability to survive. 

disneynature-born-in-china-pandas-snow-leopards-and-monkeys
Photo Credit: Disneynature

Funds raised from Born in China will focus on improving landscape connectivity by increasing protected areas, establishing and restoring key wildlife corridors, improving management of protected areas, and establishing a biodiversity monitoring platform, including panda, snub-nosed monkeys and other flagship endangered species. The plan will also further work with communities toward more sustainable livelihoods and efficient rural energy, enhancing protection of these vibrant landscapes.[i]

born-in-china-landscapes
Photo Credit: Disneynature

For nearly 60 years the World Wildlife Fund has worked in collaboration with existing conservation groups and bring substantial financial support to the conservation movement on a worldwide scale.  You can help further their mission by going to see Born in China this week, and getting directly involved with the organization.  Here are a few ways to help:

  • Make A One-Time Donation: Support the World Wildlife Fund’s global conservation efforts by becoming a member and making a one-time donation.
  • Adopt An Animal: Help save the world’s most endangered animals from extinction with a symbolic adoption.
  • Renew Your Membership: Make a monthly donation to help save endanger species, protect wild habitats and address global threats.
  • Become A Partner In Conservation: Commit to an annual contribution of $1,000 or more and receive special privileges.

Born in China gives us an opportunity to teach our children a lesson in philanthropy.  We can use this amazing film to help our kiddos understand that philanthropy is not just for adults or for the wealthy, but anyone attempting to improve the conditions of the world is a philanthropist.

Are you teaching your children about philanthropy? You may not be passionate about the World Wildlife Fund, and that’s ok – but please go see the movie, it’s fantastic!  However, I encourage you to find a cause and get your family involved in giving back.  Please share how you and your family practice philanthropy or how you’d like to. I want to hear from you!!

 

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

 

[i] https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/protecting-snow-leopards-and-pandas-with-disneynature-s-born-in-china

3-tips-to-make-up-for-lost-time-with-your-retirement
Education

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Prudential and DiMe media. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a brand ambassador for Prudential at Hispanicize.  The Prudential team is an amazing group of people, especially the Vice President of Consumer Strategy & Key Initiatives, Dorinda Walker.  She shared a unique story about every single Prudential ambassador during the welcome reception, it was so inspiring.

prudential-welcome-reception-at-hispancize

I came to Hispanicize eager to learn more about Prudential’s ABC’s of Retirement Savings Plans and Social Security.  As a mompreneur, I wanted to dive deeper into creating a comfortable life for my 70-year-old self and share my key learnings with you.

During the DiMe Summit, I enjoyed the main stage presentation of The Great Girlfriends talking with DiMe Co-Founders Angela and Piera about the importance of fiscal responsibility, planning, and balance in business.  I also perused the Prudential lounge, documented my financial goals and took a stand for my financial success.

dime-summit-with-the-great-girlfriends-and-the-prudential-lounge

In addition to being an ambassador for Prudential at Hispanicize, they are also the presenting partner of my Motivated Mom Tour.  So when they needed to fill a space for an interview, Dorinda invited me to be a guest on a Facebook Live interview with Gaby Natale. It was so much fun, I believe it helped me overcome my fear of Facebook Live.  Take a look!

For any of you who’s ever had a good coach, you know how valuable that person is in your life. Well, my coach is a million times more special, so THIS MOMENT was monumental to me. It was by far, the best part of the event. I had a “fireside chat” with Elayna and shared our financial experiences and what we wanted our overall take-a-way to be from Prudential that we would share with moms.  Afterwards, we participated in a friendly game of #Prupárate, (Prudential’s form of Jeopardy) with Claudia.

fire-side-chat-with-the-positive-mom-and-pruparate-prudential-game

The most impactful session for me was the “Financial Empowerment within the Latino Community” presented by Prudential and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.  The information was particularly important because the issues among Hispanics and finances, aren’t much different from those among African Americans.  I could relate to the barriers that Hispanics face when creating financial wellness.  Check out the video from the session live at Hispanicize – please excuse the sideways view…it only lasts for a few minutes, before I figured it out. LOL!

 

My husband and I are taking control of our financial life, and making huge adjustments to live simply.  One of the main reasons for this is one, a peace of mind; but the other is to allow me to live out my life’s purpose and not have to worry about money. 

This session helped me understand the steps I needed to take in order to better prepare for my retirement.  Delvin spoke about Prudential’s recently released a whitepaper entitle “Solutions for Improving Your Financial Wellness” where they are providing tips and how-tos on retirement among other financial related topics.

It takes time to take control of your retirement. We’re often encouraged to start planning early because building your retirement takes time.  If you’ve started late don’t worry, you can catch up. Here are a few tips from Prudential to start making up for lost time. 

1. Max out your retirement account.

This simply means to fully fund your account, contribute to the max if you can.  Take advantage of employer contributions, tax breaks and investment growth.

I know as mompreneurs it may be tough for us to contribute to a 401K, I was thinking initially that I couldn’t afford it. But I honestly feel that I can’t afford not to.  My husband and I are cutting back, trimming the fat from our expenses so that we can better prepare for our future.  We’ve decided that we are going to contribute more to savings and retirement, and less to eating out and entertainment. It’s never too late to live your best life.

max-out-your-retirement-account

2. Use your life insurance to create generational wealth.

Talk to a financial advisor about a properly structured life insurance policy that accumulates cash value over time. Having access to your cash will help you systematically grow wealth regardless of market conditions.

This piece of information was the absolute best tip ever.  I had never thought of life insurance as a strategy for generational wealth. I could not wait to get home and share this with my husband.   We are in the process of changing our life insurance policies, and doing business with Prudential.  Now we know what we need to do to propel our decision to take control of our financial life today!

use-your-life-insurance-to-create-generational-wealth

3. Develop an income strategy for retirement: 

Financial language is a barrier for some.  Conveying the message for financial planning can be difficult, which in turn limits our ability to take full advantage of income strategies for retirement. Great income strategies for retirement are saving accounts, IRA’s or annuity’s.

I did not grow up hearing a lot about retirement. My grandfather ensured that my grandmother was well taken care of, but I did not know how.  Therefore, when I joined corporate America, I did not maximize my opportunity to invest in my retirement and get the employer contribution.  Thankfully, my husband is very knowledgeable and is helping me understand the importance, while working with me to create an income strategy for retirement.

develop-an-income-strategy-for-retirement

A large majority of Hispanics and African Americans have no retirement accounts.  Creating a plan of action, setting goals for your future is the best way to ensure that you are taking action to care for your 70-year-old self.

Studies show that 52% households believe they are “at risk” of not being able to maintain their lifestyle in retirement.  As moms, we drive a lot of the decisions in our home. We prepare the grocery lists, select the brand of laundry detergent, and decide which pediatric dentist our child will see.  Let’s add building our retirement to the list.

Are you ready to build and grow your retirement plan? Taking control of your financial life and wellness is about adopting behaviors that help us achieve the fundamentals of financial security. I like the sound of that…financial security, let’s create it together!  Tell us how you are planning to better save towards your retirement below, we want to hear from you!

 

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

5 Beautiful Life Lessons To Teach Our Children from Beauty and the Beast
Education

My family and I are movie watchers, we love having movie nights. My son Chance usually selects our movie, but we enjoy it all the same.  We grab our blankets and we are on our way.  We were excited about seeing Beauty and the Beast, although I wondered if Chance would really like it. 

He and my niece Sophee had a discussion about it, and my Sophee had Chance convinced that the movie was a girlie movie all about Belle.  But on the weekend of its release, he still wanted to go and I was so happy. 

Beauty-and-the-beast-Movie-title
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

We enjoyed the movie so much. Chance and I was on the edge our seat wondering what would happen next.  It was our first Beauty and the Beast movie.  Once it was over, we were so inspired. We talked about what we loved most, and the things that we couldn’t believe…like how mean the Beast was to Belle at first, how the dishes could talk, and the reason the man was turned into a beast in the first place.  It was quite the conversation as we drove home.

As I began replaying the movie in my head, I started thinking about the lessons I learned and how it can be applied to the lessons we teach our children.  I thought about the many challenges that our children are faced with each day. They have so many struggles with bullying, peer pressure, self-esteem and acceptance.  We must set parental expectations of good character so that our children have a much greater chance at success in school, in a career, and in life. 

I left the movie thinking about all of the things that our children deal with on a daily basis. The bullying, judgement, and self-doubt.  In an effort, not to spoil it for those of you that haven’t seen it, I will just say…. Beauty and the Beast provided a lot of positive messages that our children can benefit from.  My thoughts led to 5 important principles to ensure that I am raising a well-balanced kid.

embrace-the-different-in-your-children.

 

Embrace the “different” in your children. Having a “different” child has always been frowned upon in society. It’s hard for us to embrace the uncommon things that make our children unique. Especially if that uncommon thing, that different thing, is acknowledged as a negative by others.

Belle had a bit of a reputation for being different. She didn’t do what was common in her community and she was teased about her unique behaviors by all.  Belle’s dad never saw her anything other way than perfect. She was perfect to him just the way she was. In fact, her different was normal in their home.

BeautyAndTheBeast581cb8c6af412
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

Growing up, I was different. I was often teased because of my skin color, hair, or good grades. Honestly, I don’t think my grandmother or mother knew…but even if she or my mother did, the most I would get is “don’t let what they say affect you.” It wasn’t until I was an adult did I even realize the impact those words had on my life. 

For years, I suffered from low self-esteem as a result of the negative words spoken to me. The movie reminded me of the importance of being proactive and reinforcing kindness no matter what others may look like, how they dress, their ethnicity or race. We are all different, and diversity is about individuality, it should be celebrated not made fun of.

Teach Your Children to Believe in Themselves and Their Self-Worth

Teach your children to believe in themselves and their self-worth. The research on low self-esteem is staggering among children. Low self-esteem and self-worth are of high concern among our children today. 

One of the things I loved about Belle was her confidence. She was unapologetically secure in herself. She did not let the rumors, community chatter, or traditions limit her ability to value her own option, thoughts, and beliefs.

Belle in Beauty and the Beast
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

There was a time when my son would question himself. If he didn’t get a perfect score, or didn’t do something right he would begin to feel like he didn’t matter. He told me that he felt me and his dad did not want him. As a mom, my heart could not bear hearing him say that and most importantly to see him feeling that way.

My husband and I went into prayer first. I told him right then and there that he was so important to us. I assured him that no matter what he did, it would never stop me from loving him. And that his best is always good enough. I assured him that he was amazing just as he is. It took time, but eventually Chance started to believe I. Himself and value his contribution no matter how small or the overall outcome.

Make the Painful Decisions to do What's Best for Your Child's Future.

Make the painful decisions to do what’s best for your child’s future. Life gives its fair share of trouble and pain. As a parent  it’s not always easy to make painful decisions.

In the movie, several painfully tough decisions had to be made. And just like in real life, our decisions affect our lives.  I was born as a product of rape. Unfortunately, my dad raped my mom and she became pregnant. My mother had me despite the traumatic experience. My mother kept her rape a secret from me for many years. As a matter of fact, my stepmother is the one who told me at the age of 26 that my dad raped my mom.

When I asked my mother why she didn’t tell me, she said “because you needed your father.” Her painful decision, allowed me to have a relation with my dad and for him to find redemption and forgiveness.

Allow Your Child to be Brave and Assume Responsibility.

Allow your child to be brave and assume responsibility. One of the most common things we say as moms concerning our children’s growth is “my baby is growing or, or I need him/her to slow down.” It’s not easy for us to let go.

Belle took a huge risk by facing the Beast.  By doing so, she was showing her dad that she’s now old enough to take care of herself. And he still did not want her to do that.

Belle Facing the Beast in Beauty and the Beast
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

As parents we want to protect our children. Allowing them to grow up is not easy. The first time we took Chance to Arkansas and left him with my parents in love, he cried the whole time we were gone. My mother in law said he waited every day for us to walk in the door. So, as he grew older and wanted to go and stay for weeks at a time, a part of me is still trying to hold on to the little boy who needed his parents with him.  That little boy, while he’s still my little boy is a big kid being brave and learning to find his way.

Dispel the Myth of What Beauty is.

 

Dispel the myth of what beauty is. One of the biggest factors affecting our children is society’s definition of beauty.  Belle did not allow the outer appearance of the beast to limit her ability to see the beauty of his heart. 

Belle dancing with the Beast
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios

I’ve always been conscious of the sensitivity to what is considered beautiful. Growing up, I was the girl that was always told how pretty I was. And I saw the affect it had on my family and friends.  My cousins and close friends often teased me, because they took my compliment as an indictment against them.  It bothered me so much, not because I didn’t think I was pretty. But because when they didn’t tell the others how pretty they were, it implied that it meant they were ugly.

As we watched this amazing Disney movie directed Bill Condon, I was inspired to see the beauty in my own life.  It challenged me to change my perspective of what beauty is.  Confucius once said, “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”  Beauty and the Beast challenged me to believe in this quote more than ever. 

My most meaningful take-a-way was how I would find ways to discuss the movie with my son Chance from a parenting perspective.  I thought, wow can I elevate the impact of the movie with “teachable moments?”  As a mom, I can go on and on about the lessons learned from Belle. 

Our family movie night turned into a lesson in the theatre.  I’d love to hear from you about my lessons from this inspiring, transformative love story.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

Encourage and Support Your Children to Pursue Their Dreams
Inspiration

I didn’t always get the support and encouragement needed to feel empowered to pursue my dreams. I only recall sharing my real dreams, the inner most desires with one person in my family…my grandmother.  

And while she believed in her heart that I could and would be someone special, she did not always know how to properly position me for achievement.

She believed in her heart that I could and would be someone special, she did not always know how

It’s been a little more than a year that I quit my job to become a fulltime mompreneur.  I suppose my son Chance didn’t realize it right way.  But about six months ago, he asked “mommy why don’t you go to work anymore?”

As I sat at my desk, I immediately stop typing and adjusted my attention to his little face. I said, “I do work buddy”, he said “but you don’t leave the house like you use to.” “I’m an entrepreneur, I work for myself right here at home, I replied.  The look on his face told me that his mind was working, he asked a few questions about being an entrepreneur, I answered them and he went on about his business. 

About two weeks later he came to me with a look of excitement and said “mom, I want to be an entrepreneur like you.” “That’s awesome” I responded. He immediately says “I know exactly what I want my business to be, I have the name too.”   

I instantly smiled and forced my eyes not to cry, because I was so proud of him and I had not even heard the type of business he had in mind.  But it didn’t matter, I was overjoyed that I played a role in helping him define and pursue his dream.

Mom, I want to be an entrepreneur like you

 

As I held back the tears and asked him to tell me about his business.  He said “mom my business is Chance’s Camping Club, and I want to help kids without dads learn to camp.” Needless to say, I started to cry. I was so proud of him and his little giving heart.  I told him that I was extremely proud of him and his decision. And that I would help him start and build his business. 

Before he walked away, I said “Chance, you know it’s really interesting that you selected a camping business especially since you’ve never been camping.”  He said, “I know, daddy can teach me to camp along with a few others boys at the same time.  We can start by putting a few tents in our backyard with a fire pit since it’s so big.  That way the boys won’t be afraid of the woods.”

Daddy can tach me how to camp

A few months later I filed for his business license, and for Christmas he received his first tent to operate his business.  His reaction to the tent was confirmation that he really wanted to make Chance’s Camping Club a reality.  I learned so much about my kid and about being a parent during this process. 

Here are a few things I learned that I believe will help to you encourage and support your children when pursuing their dreams.

Encourage and Support His Dreams

His dreams and aspirations were not what I had in mind or ever imagined for him, but that doesn’t mean that I avoid my responsibility to encourage him to pursue them.  Their dreams are for them, not you. No matter how big or small, when you give them permission to dream by supporting them, you open them up to a greater chance of achievement.

Be the Example 

As a mom, I was overjoyed to know – in that moment that I truly was his Shero!  I was happy that I had influenced my son, I was his example of what he could potentially be.  Fostering an environment of success in your home, allows your child to see you living your best life daily.

Love Unconditionally

Just as your dreams changed throughout your life, so will theirs as they grow. Remain encouraging and supportive as they find their passions, gifts and strengths. Empowering them to have the confidence to follow their heart and try new things, is another way of showing them how much you love them.

Chance and mommy

Helping Chance find his way is my top mom responsibility, and it’s your responsibility to your child.  We’ve never been camping as a family, I don’t have a camping memory that I can share with him, but I really want support him and give Chance an opportunity to experience a piece of his dream. 

If he is going to help other children learn and experience camping, he first must know what it means, how it feels, and all the joy and wonder of camping for himself.  Our goal is to plan our first camping trip this year. That’s why I’m entering the KOA Great Outdoors Adventure sweepstakes through Hispancize.

I am so happy to have an opportunity to share this story with you. I am beyond blessed to acknowledge it as my story; and I truly believe that it can be your story too.  Have you been struggling with encouraging your children in dreams that you did not have for them? Please share your thoughts and share it with those who may need these tips.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

Be, Think, and Act Like A Success
Education

I am a member of the Act like a Success Social Media Team and they provided me with compensation for this event. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Growing up my grandfather was my example of success.  He was a working man who took care of my grandmother and their seven children.  He always had lots of money (keep in mind $20 dollars was a lot of money to a 7 year old), and every time I went to visit him he would give me his loose change and say, “don’t spend it all in one place.”   He’d sit me on his lap and tell me stories about my mother and her siblings when they were my age.  He’d tell me how the kids would walk home from school every day for the hot lunch that he prepared and then head back to school after eating. 

When my grandfather died, he ensured that my grandmother was set up for life.  He had all his policies, pensions, and plans in place for her to live a very comfortable life.  Which only enhanced my perception of him as a success.  I just wanted to earn a lot of money so that I could be successful just like him.

As I grew up, I began to learn more about my grandfather and his bad habits that eventually caused my grandmother to leave him.  They remained married, but were separated for several years before my grandfather’s death.  I remember receiving a call a few months after my grandmother died about my grandfather’s other wife.  I was stunned, and all that I was learning about my grandfather began changing my perspective of success. 

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECITVE

I no longer believed success was just about money, success for me was more about being a person of integrity.  It’s like Jacqueline Briskin, a British-born American writer specializing in historical fiction once said, “Don’t take anybody else’s definition of success as your own.”

don't-take-anybodys-elses-definition-of-success-as-your-own

That’s what I love about success, it’s defined by you. Your definition of success may not be what someone deems successful, but most successful people are not concerned about what others think of them anyway.  Seeing success differently has helped me significantly. I no measure success with money, but rather by the fulfillment of my purpose. The old saying is true, “You have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather is.”  What I saw as success through my grandfather was good at that time.  It helped me on my journey of being successful.  However, school, books, mentors and life experiences also helped me to map out my plan and strategies for success going forward.

OVERCOME YOUR BARRIERS

Truth is, there are so many barriers to success, the “how” is just as important as the “what” when becoming successful.  How do I get there? How do I obtain success?  Do you ask yourself these questions from time to time?  One of my barriers was my limited perception from my grandfather’s example. I initially thought that I would be successful if I had a lot of money.  Your barriers may be different, but they are barriers all the same.  Here are a few ways that I overcame my barriers, and I believe they will help you as well:

  • Be A Success – Believe You Can! Someone said, “Our life is simply a reflection of our actions. Life will give you back everything you have given to it.”  Stop looking at where you are and focus on where you want to be. Think your way to being successful. If you allow your mind to go there, your words and actions will follow your thinking.
  • Think as A Success – Be Authentic! I love the quote by Teddy Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what YOU HAVE, where you are.” You have everything you need to be successful. Allow your uniqueness to provide a platform for your specific audience.
  • Act Like A Success – Invest in You! Warren Buffet said, “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” Investing in yourself is an example of self-love. By investing in yourself you declare your value, worth and potential to the world.

The best investment you can make is in yourself.

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO WIN

When I began implementing these three tips in my life, I saw myself as a success.  I’m a successful wife, serving my husband and our home in unity. I’m a successful mom, engaged in all aspects of my son’s life. I’m a successful mompreneur, managing my home and my business while encourage other moms to do the same.  The list of things that I believe that I am successful at goes on, and the journey of success is continuous.

Surround yourself with people who are adding value to your life and your success journey.  One of the things that I am doing this year is attending Steve Harvey’s Act Like A Success Conference

I’ve heard amazing things about this conference, and I am delighted that I have an opportunity to attend this year.  I am looking forward to learning, connecting and growing through the instruction of bestselling authors, motivational speakers, and global thought leaders. It’s sold out, but you can join me by registering for the Live Stream powered by Green Dot – use promo code “jump” and save $40!

2017 ALAS Conference Promo_FINAL

The Live Stream registration gives you access to All General Sessions and Keynote Speaker including Steve Harvey. You can watch online from anywhere!

I’d be delighted if you were able to virtually join me for the Act Like A Success Conference.  It’ll be my first experience, but I can promise you this: When you invest in yourself, a world of opportunities will open to you.

Be, Think, and Act Like A Success! Become the best version of yourself by investing in you.  If you haven’t already, join the Facebook Group and follow along using #ALAS2017!  My grandfather was not a perfect man, and his actions towards my grandmother hurt my feelings. But my grandfather was my hero growing up, and that will never change.  I think my grandfather would be proud that I learned not to base my success on money, as I am positive that it was never his intent but rather my perception.

 

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

My DFW Auto Show Experience With Chevrolet Volt
Education

This post is sponsored by She Buys Cars on behalf of the DFW Auto Show. All opinions are my own.

 A few months ago, my husband and I decided that we would give our nephew my husband’s car.  Initially we were thinking that we would buy my hubby a used car so that we would not have a long-term car payment.  After going back and forth, we decided to lease a car.  At the time, with limited information, I knew exactly what I wanted. I did not look at many different Makes and Models, I had my ideal SUV in mind.  Had I been exposed to the DFW Auto Show prior to leasing my car, I am certain that I would have made a very different choice.  I probably would have still leased; but I am not so sure that I would have selected my current vehicle. 

When I was invited to attend the DFW Auto Show as an ambassador for She Buys Cars, I was excited but a little reluctant because I didn’t know what to expect.  Well to my surprise, the 2017 DFW Auto Show was a great event.  I had an opportunity to meet a group of amazing women and learn so much about some of our favorite brands.

the-hyundai-offical-cuv-of-the-nfl-the-nissan-titan
The Official CUV of the NFL | The Nissan Titan

During the VIP Preview Party and the Press Conference, I was able to spend time with the Genesis team, and learn more about this luxury vehicle.  Genesis is said to be human centered and relevant for you today.  From the looks of the car and their presentation, I would agree.

2017-genesis-luxury-brand
The 2017 Genesis Luxury Brand

While I was truly inspired by the Genesis line, I was also very impressed with other vehicles like the Dodge Ram Long Horn Edition. My husband wants a truck, so I spent a nice amount of time with Dodge RAM learning about this puppy.  I was thinking, I could use to riding in a truck like this….it’s very nice!

ram-dodge-long-horn-edition
The Dodge RAM Long Horn Edition

The Toyota C-HR was another favorite.  Now, I can’t imagine going back to a car right now, but this is a nice compact but roomy car by Toyota. Having the insight on the vehicles, like the brand promise, technology, and safety features truly changed my perception of what to look for when buying a car. 

Toyota c-hr
The New Toyota C-HR

I’m thankful to She Buys Cars for exposing me to this amazing Show. Now I am encouraging you to see it for yourself.  It’s a short drive to the heart of Dallas at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.  Once you get there you can experience the Ride & Drive event with Mazda and take this beauty for a spin. Don’t forget your driver license.

 

the-mazda-ride-and-drive-experience-at-the-dfw-auto-show
The Mazda Ride & Drive Experience

There were so many options at the Auto Show, but I noticed that I was more interested in the SUV’s.  As a baseball mom, I have lots of bags, buckets, and snacks that I lug around and the extra space is always helpful. 

You may not be in the market for a new car, but by attending this event, when the time come you will be prepared.  This is one of the most anticipated events in Dallas. For more specific information please visit www.dfwautoshow.com.  If you aren’t in Dallas, please research your local Auto Show you won’t regret it.

 

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

Education

I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Orlando courtesy of Disney to attend the Disney Dreamer Academy event in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views, opinions, thoughts and ideas shared on my post are completely my own.

I often think to myself, why am I here? What is it that I was created to do? These questions usually occur when I am experiencing a challenge or difficult time in my life that I have not completely taken charge of.  You know when things pop up expectantly, but they needed to happen in order to get you focused.  For example, when someone you have a business relationship with tries to belittle and demean you as a form of control, but you’ve known for a while that you needed to end that relationship. 

Those are the times when the pursuit of your purpose and whether or not you should follow your dreams are most questionable.  Those are the times when you really must dig deep and be confident, and take the advice of motivational speaker, Lisa Nichols, and “bet on you” and recalibrate your dreams.

I was invited to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy recently. It’s a 4-day event held in partnership with Disney, Essence Magazine, and Steve Harvey at Walt Disney World for 100 high school students, ages 13-18 where they learned how to make their dreams come true.  The invitation included attendance to the Disney Dreamer Academy, a 4 Day Park Hopper Pass, unlimited Fast Passes, and a 3 Night Stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Resort.

My-trip-to-dda
Photo Credit: Christine St. Vil and Walt Disney World

 While there, I quickly learned that these students had no problem making their dreams come true.  These kids were amazing, some had businesses, others started nonprofits – all were exceptionally bright and had big dreams.  I also learned that I needed the encouragement just as much as the 100 kiddos and their parents. 

amazing-kids-at-dda
Photo Credit: Walt Disney World

There was a session for the Dreamers entitled “Every Dreamer has a Story” where they learned valuable skills about networking and leadership. Princeton Parker, alumnus, motivational speaker, and now Disney Cast Member, was sharing his story of being a Dreamer, then later invited to serve in the Speaker Resource Group, and now he’s a Manager at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.  He said “when you are living your dream, it’s like relying on GPS. Your GPS will never tell you that it has stopped because you made it a wrong turn, it will say…recalibrating.” 

My heart started racing, as I internalized that message and knew that it was food for thought for me.  I am in what I now know to be a place of recalibration.  I took a leap of faith and began pursuing my dreams, and while on my journey I missed an exit.  You see, I held on to a few things that I should have let go of a while back. By placing to much of my attention on what should have been in my rear view, my GPS starting recalibrating.  Has that ever happened to you?

After attending Thursday’s themed session “Dream Big”, Friday’s “Dreams, Possibilities, Passions”, and Saturday’s “A Whole New World”, and Sunday’s Commencement with the “Circle of Life” performance.  I walked away from the Disney Dreamer Academy renewed and inspired to believe in the power of my dreams, and pursue them passionately. I am now giving myself permission to fully believe in me.  

speakers-at-Disney-dreamer-academy
Photo Credit: Walt Disney World

I needed to understand that my GPS system recognized that I missed my exit, and because I was in a bad area, my connection to my true source was weak, and it was taking longer than usual to recalibrate. But more importantly, I had to do three things immediately, I had to: 

  • Make the decision that I was going to bet on me: Worrying about what others would think, was giving them too much power over me. 
  • Give myself permission to change directions: It may delay my arrival a bit, but it will not deny me access to my desired destination.
  • Live fearless: I will not compromise my dreams before I am able to explore them. Don’t allow fear to hold you back, go for it!

I was seriously beginning to feel that my dream was too heavy to bear, and then I was invited to take part in the Disney Dreamer Academy.  Being in an atmosphere full of dreamers and doers sprinkled with pixie dust, was truly magical.  That is just how my God works, He always placing me in the right place at the right time.  And hearing Princeton’s message about GPS, was a major bonus.  I was so inspired by the amazing speakers and dreamers, I recommend you have your child apply later this year if they are within the age range.

I realized as moms, there will be times when we too must be open to receiving guidance and direction so that we can become better women, and extraordinary moms –  encouraging our children to do the same.  Sonia Jackson Miles, a motivational speaker, and a member of the Speaker Resource Group for the Academy said “there’s a superhero inside all of us, we just have to have the courage to put the cape on,” and it’s true. Every now and again we need be motivated to live our best life.  

theres-a-superhero-inside-all-of-us-we-just-have-to-have-the-courage-to-put-the-cape-on

 

Have you had to recalibrate your dreams? Be as specific as possible and don’t limit yourself. Your heart knows your deepest desires, so give yourself some time to meditate, recalibrate, and connect to your most authentic self.  Or you may know someone that will be helped by this, if so, please comment and share it? I would love to hear from you.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

three-things-i-learned-at-we-all-grow
Education

Recently we celebrated International Women’s Day and in honor of that day, when were asked to help forge a better working world – a more inclusive, gender equal world; I am happy to share my experience and what I learned at #WeAllGrow Summit.

On the website, #WeAllGrow Summit is branded as the go-to conference for Latinas in the digital space where they harness the Energy of Sisterhood to provide an intimate 3 day gathering of experiential networking and learning experiences that propel growth.

Well, I can say that they stand up to their brand promise. And while I am not a Latina blogger, it was still an amazing experience of sisterhood, good content and lasting connections. Going in, I had no idea what to expect. I took the word of my trusted blog coach, Elayna Fernandez that it was a place that I needed to be. With that being said, I fully intended to gain knowledge that would enhance my understanding of my blog and help me grow my business.

I’m happy to share that I accomplished my goal, and want to share three things that I learned at #WeAllGrow.

 

Sponsored Field Trips are FUNdamental!

This was the first conference that I attended where there were Sponsor Field Trips. As an attendee, I was able to rate from one to ten the fields trips that I wanted to go to. It was so hard, because there were some amazing field trip options, from Disneyland to flying in a helicopter. Seriously, it was absolutely incredible. I was selected for Disneyland, and we had a great time enjoying the park. We rode Soarin’, Radiator Springs Racers, and had some amazing lobster nachos at the Cove Bar. But the most fundamental part of the day was the bonds that we built among women. I believe that relationships are your greatest resource, and the friends that I made at #WeAllGow are purposeful. laughed, danced, screamed (on roller coasters), and shared tips on how to grow our blogs. It was priceless!

 

Social Good is Good for All!

This was the most impactful session to me. I have struggled with whether or not I should use my blog to advocate and elevate the importance of early education. I did not want to confuse my audience, although I cater to moms most of my content is mompreneurship driven. The brave women on this panel shared their struggles and spoke about the importance of standing up for a cause. Their stories reminded me of a quote from Mother Teresa that says, “we think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. He poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.” We can all play a part in helping others feel wanted, loved and cared for, by using our name, brand, likeness and VOICES to make a difference in whatever area that tugs at the heart strings of our heart.

There’s a Warrior in every Princess!

There were several magical moments at #WeAllGrow, but there were a few that inspired me beyond belief. The Princesas y Guerreras message from Marines Duarte was one of those moments. Her campaign against, gender inequality, the mistreatment and abuse against women is to be applauded and supported. As she spoke about her daughters, her passion to ensure that they understand that abuse in any form is not what they deserve or should tolerate. I could not help but to think about the abuse that I suffered, and the abuse that my mother suffered that eventually brought me into this world. My heart was flooded with sorrow at the thought of my mother being a child, a victim of abuse. I could not stop the tears from rolling down my face. It was the first time that I saw my mom as a Princess Warrior! Her abuse was unwanted, underserved, unbelievably painful to us both, but it did not steal her crown. She’s still a beautiful, strong, loving princess.

#WeAllGrow is an amazing conference. I learned so much about blogging, legal fundamentals, photography tips, and WordPress over the three days. I met a lot of amazing brands, and beautiful people. It’s true…when one grows, #WeAllGrow…I certainly did! If you never attend the #WeAllGrow Summit, you can still spread the #WeAllGrow message of having a more inclusive, gender equal world by building up your fellow sister. Encourage someone today, and tell me how this article encouraged you.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

your-gifts-will-make-room-for-you
Education

“Your gift will make room for you.” 

What does that mean, and what was God trying to tell me?

Since they day I became a mom I’ve wanted more than ever to work from home, using my gift to serve others. I wanted the opportunity to make my own schedule, spend quality time as a mom and earn a living. 

Although I had worked for myself before, with the new responsibility of a child I felt that I needed to do more to ensure that I would be able to earn a consistent paycheck as a mompreneur.

Six years and a few jobs later, I took the leap. It was one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made, and one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself. There were a lot of factors that made my decision easy, like:

  • health-related issues,
  • lack of fulfillment,
  • and the feeling of complacency

I realized that my health had to be a priority to me first, and nothing was worth risking it.  I am a passionate person, I want to know that I am making a real difference.  Having a sense of fulfillment is very important to me.

Passion Makes Complacency Uncomfortable

Then there is my desire to live the life that I believe I was created for. I believe passion makes complacency uncomfortable, when you live your gift and do what you love…you thrive.

But the number one reason was that I wanted to be a fully engaged mom, own my time, follow my dreams and stop working for money. 

I am nearly two years in, and I realized that I’m still working for money. You’re probably thinking…don’t we all? No, well I certainly hope not. 

My goal is to do what I love…

…and get paid for doing it. Working for money for me means that I don’t necessarily want to do what I’m being paid to do. I’m doing it out of an obligation for a paycheck. 

Have you ever worked for money?

It’s the hardest thing in the world for me to do. 

When I was a child my grandmother always said that she believed that I could do anything. She always complimented me on my ability to make a decision and go for it.  Well, if you know me… then you know that my grandmother’s words are right under the Holy Bible to me.  

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about the conversation that I would’ve had with my grandmother about my situation if she were alive. How we’d sit on the sofa drinking coffee, or she’d have me playing in her hair. She loved to do both, and we would just talk for hours. Sooner or later, she would tell me to pray about it. And before I knew it, we would be off to the horse races. Seriously, that was a real day with her, she was the best. 

Your Gift Will Make Room For You

So, I took her advice, I prayed. It was the shortest, most heartfelt prayer I think I’ve ever prayed. I simply said “do it for me, God” and I whispered “amen”.  A few short days later I heard Joel Olsteen say “your gifts will make room for you” (Proverbs 18:16) on his television broadcast. A week later, a friend responded to one of my posts saying “your gift will make room for you” on Facebook. 

Your gift will make room for you.
Proverbs 18:16 – A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

I was starting to get the hint, and it hit me during one of my coaching session with Elayna. She was talking to me about my passions, and suddenly I began to understand exactly how God was answering my prayer.

My gifts will make room for me to close the door to those things that do not align with my core passions and who I am becoming, and allow opportunities that will bring me into a place of wealth. A place that is not determined by a dollar, but by the difference that I make in the lives of others by doing what I am created for, what I am purposed and passionate about doing.

Allow opportunities that will bring you in a place of wealth

You see, this is the opposite of working for money, right?  To me this is when your “work” is combined with your “ministry” and you are living out of your gift.

You’re right if you are thinking it doesn’t happen overnight. I have made a lot of progress, but I still have a lot to learn. But with hard work, dedication, faith and the belief that you can…it doesn’t have to take long. Your gifts will make room for you!

Are you working for money? If so, please share the steps you must take in order to live your life on purpose, in abundance and financially free.  I would love to hear from you. Please share this with others that may need to activate their gifts as well.  

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

Born in China Disney Nature In Theaters April 21st - Celebrate Earth Day
Education

There were so many amazing experiences during my first Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (#DisneySMMC).  The event invite was truly a dream come true for me.  One of my favorite components of DisneySMMC was hearing from the producers and directors of the upcoming new Disney movie releases.
 
We were given an opportunity to see several advanced movie clips and screenings. I know, they spoiled us rotten!  But I am so glad they gave us an opportunity to see these amazing movies and hear from the talent behind the creation, production, and manifestation of these wonderful works of art.
 
Although it’s not the first movie to be released of those that I will highlight in this post, I want to start with Disney Nature’s “Born in China.”  I am so glad that we had an opportunity to see an advanced screening of “Born in China” – it’s a great real life adventure film.  We had an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of the Academy Award winning producer Roy Conli.  He shared in depth about the amount of time it took to capture the wilds of China and documenting intimate moments of three animal families. 

Born in China Disney Nature In Theaters April 21st - Celebrate Earth Day

The film is absolutely amazing, and the best part for me was the fact that on opening week (April 21-27, 2017) the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund will make a contribution to World Wildlife Fund.  As an advocate for nonprofit organizations and social causes, this made my heart smile.  The donation to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will help protect wild panda populations and establish new conservation programs for snow leopards in China.  WWF is the leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species, with a mission to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth. 

Moms, I’m telling you…you definitely want to take your children to see “Born in China” and why not do it during opening week?  Now that’s not until April, but let me tell you about a movie that you want to see in March.

We had an opportunity to see an eight-minute clip of one of the most romantic fairy tales ever, Beauty and the Beast.  This must-see film about a beautiful girl and an unusual looking prince is certain to inspire you. Grab your friends and their children and hit the theaters on March 17, 2017.

If you and your family are marvel fans, then you certainly don’t want to miss “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2”, as this superhero team helps Peter Quill learn more about his parents. We got to see a clip of the movie, and you should go ahead and set your calendars for Friday, May 5, 2017 – meet me at the theater, I will bring the popcorn!

Marvel Studios Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 - In theaters May 5th

Now I have to admit, my son was the biggest pirate in our family…until I saw a clip of “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”  When this clip began, I was hooked in the first few minutes. Jack Sparrow is back and I can’t wait until Memorial Day, May 26, 2017 to see the whole movie.  We are going in costumes, eye patch and all.  Don’t miss it you all!!!

Pirates of The Caribbean - Dead Men Tell No Tales - Captain Jack Sparrow

Last but certainly not the least of the films that are coming out during the first half of the year, I want to let you know that Lighting McQueen is returning to the big screen.  Yes, “Cars 3” will hit the theaters on June 16, 2017. Now, my family and I are HUGE Cars fans…I mean we LOVE McQueen. But you know what makes seeing “Cars 3” even more special? I’m glad you asked, it’s the amazing short that will run ahead of “Cars 3” called “Lou”.  It’s a six-minute short film directed by Dave Mullins, and it’s fantastic!

Disney Pixar Cars 3 Coming Summer 2017

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was filled with passionate people, fun adventures and amazing content for children and families.  You can keep up with the Disney Movies, by following along with me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  You can keep up with Disney news on the Disney Parks Blog.  If you want to read up on other posts from Disney Social Media Mom attendees, you can search the #DisneySMMC hashtag on all social platforms.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom