5-helpful-quotes-that-helped-me-change-my-perspective
Education

Lately I had been thinking that I needed to change my perspective.  You know, how I see things…my mindset and the way I think.  Through self-examination, I realized that I overly-criticized myself which altered the way I see myself and others around me.

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Now, I do understand by shifting my mindset I can change my life, however doing so is easier said than done.  That’s why I’m sharing my story with you because the first step toward deliverance is acceptance, right?  My perspective is holding me back, and I am committed to changing that. 

Perspective, what does it mean exactly? I am glad you asked. When I searched the dictionary, I received two examples of the definition. The second definition was what I was most familiar with, which was “A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.”  This was the definition that I was looking for, the one that I knew I would find. As I read it, I did not feel challenged and was compelled to focus more of the first definition listed under the word.  

The first example really helped me to truly change my perspective, it said “the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.” When I read this, I interpreted it to mean that I needed to enlarge my view of myself and the reflection of what I see will cause me to grow in all areas of my life.

This was revolutionary to me.  I’ve had a low self-image for so long, and while I have been growing both professional and personal areas of my life I had not seen myself at the level of my growth. So, when I read that definition, it was a major aha moment for me.  Has that ever happened to you?  Have you ever been reading something and it opened your eyes to the beauty not only in front of you, but within you encouraging you to change how you saw yourself?

I am a huge fan of positive quotes. There are a few authors that I favor, but for the most part I just love positive affirmations.  So here are 5 helpful quotes that have helped me change my perspective. May they help you in change your perspective for the better.

“Once we accept our limits, we move beyond them.” Albert Einstein

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It takes courage to identify and accept your limitations. In doing so you are stretching yourself to become who you can be.  By gracefully acknowledging your limitations, you are giving yourself permission to create a strategic plan to overcome them.

 

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” ~ Marianne Williamson

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There is such wisdom in this quote. We must self-correct our tendency to shrink from being our best, most powerful self.  If our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure, then we grant our brilliance the authority to shine bright.

 

 A weed is no more than a flower in disguise. -James Russell Lowell

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A dandelion is considered a weed, but a field of dandelions are just as beautiful as a flower garden.  Our perspective determines what we see.  We have the ability to change the weeds of our life into beautiful flowers.

 

 You must find a place inside yourself where nothing is impossible. – Deepak Chopra

you-must-find-a-place-inside-yourself-where-nothing-is-impossible-Deepak-chopra-quote

Our thoughts limit our ability to pursue our dreams and live them out.  If you can conceive something, you can find a way to achieve it.  Take time and imagine yourself doing what you were created to do, then believe it with everything in you.
 

Happiness depends on ourselves. – Aristotle

happiness-depends-on-ourselves-aristotle-quote

Being happy is a decision which seems pretty simple, but it is so much harder to actually live by.  It is our responsibility to make ourselves happy.  Our happiness is often reflected by mood, which is directly impacted by decisions.  Taking responsibility of our happiness ensures that we are happy in spite of circumstances.
 
Each quote helped me change my perspective in one way or another.  It’s like the Army’s slogan “be all you can be”, it’s an affirmation that reminds you to constantly and consistently be your best self. 
 
I’ve learned the key to shifting my perspective is to have a clear goal, to know what I a aiming for.  The moment you begin to see your life what for it can be, you will become who you desire to be.  Change your perspective by focusing on positive thoughts.  How can you change your perspective? What difference will it make in your life?

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

how-to-be-an-mvp-most-valuable-parent-to-your-kids
Inspiration

Recently I found myself watching videos of my son Chance when he was younger.  I laughed as I watched how easily he picked up expressions.  As he grew, he learned to process what he saw and displayed certain behaviors by watching the things we did.  As I sat reminiscing on those videos, moments and memories; I began thinking about the example that I have set for my son through my everyday living.  Have I been a good example, I wondered? I couldn’t help but wonder how my attitude and actions have influenced him.  

As a mom, it’s so easy for me to be hard on myself.  I mean, I realize that the right example is critical, as I am modeling behavioral expectations.  It’s important for me to teach him how to learn from his mistakes, but more importantly how to learn from mine. 

I do not believe in telling a child “do as I say, and not as I do.” It didn’t work with me, and I certainly don’t want model that type of behavior to Chance.  I love the quote from American author Wilfred A. Peterson that says, “our children are watching us live, and what we ARE shouts louder than anything we can say.”  Our children are learning by watching….us.   

Our-children-are-watching-us-live,-and-what-we-ARE-shouts-louder-than-anything-we-can-say._

In the sports world, a most valuable player (MVP) award is an honor typically bestowed upon the best-performing player (or players) in an entire league, for a competition, or on a specific team. While used traditionally in professional sports, the term is now also commonly used in other completely unrelated fields such as business, music and now parenting.

As a parent, it is impossible to not be a role model. Your child will see your example – positive or negative as a model for how they are to live their life.  If you’re going to be a role model, you may as well be an MVP: Most Valuable Parent.

if-you-are-going-to-be-an-mvp-be-an-mvp-most-valuable-parent

With that being said, I want to share a few tips to becoming an MVP: Most Valuable Parent to you kids.

 

Model Self-Control

Being a positive role model requires determination, fore-thought, and most importantly self-control.  Being very intentional and transparent about our behaviors is a way to model self-control.  For example, I had a very heated conversation with a client about what I thought was unethical behavior.  My office is a loft, open to the living room of our home.  Chance heard my defensive tone, and raced upstairs to see if I was ok.  I told him, “yes I’m fine” and continued with the call.  Prior to ending the call, I apologized to the client for being so aggressive, but explained that I am never agreeing to what I deem to be unethical behavior.  Minutes later, Chance races upstairs and says, mommy I know they made you upset but I am proud of you for apologizing.  I shared with him, that I apologized because I am the master of myself, and even if I am right – I must control myself always.    

Vocalize High Standards

Being a positive role model requires repeating your expectations often.  Research shows that children build confidence by striving to meet high standards.  I was attending a session with my Blog Coach, Elayna and she began telling a story about her daughter giving a talk in church.  She said that Eliana, had gotten upset because all the parents were whispering in their child’s ear during the performance and Elayna did not plan to whisper to her, and she was not happy about that.  Elayna said she was really taken back, and explained to Eliana that she did not need the whispers.  The parents were whispering because those kids did not know how to read their parts.  Elayna told Eliana that she was a great reader, and she expected her to do her best always despite what others were doing.  It was a great lesson on voicing high standards. Elayna expected Eliana to read, because she could.

Practice What You Preach

Being a positive role model requires us to act on and uphold strong character and values in our daily lives.  Children do not learn the values simply by being told about them, they learn by seeing how we conduct our everyday activities.  A good example is shouting.  One day, my niece and nephew were shouting to one another because they had a disagreement. I realized my mom is a shouter and I tend to shout, so they have associated shouting or raising their voice when in disagreements. It was a result of a learned trait.

You see, we teach our children through our words and deeds.  They learn from us, and that is ultimately how you become an MVP!  We become MVP’s by sharing our values about the most important things in life, and those values are examples good behavior, character, integrity, and honesty.  Why? Because our children are likely to follow our example developing these characteristics as well.

Are you an MVP? Are you living in a way that clearly defines your values to your children?  Please share how you demonstrate your MVP status with your children.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

selecting-a-baby-shower-invite-that-speaks-to-your-heart
Education

This post is sponsored by Basic Invite. All views, opinions, thoughts and ideas shared on my post are completely my own.

I still remember my baby showers. Yes, I said “showers”, I had four baby showers for one baby.  I must admit, I was reluctant to have more than one baby shower.  I didn’t want anyone to feel pressured to plan the shower, spend money buying food or bringing gifts.  I struggle with receiving gifts, eight years ago it was even harder. 

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 Then a friend reminded me of the five miscarriages that we had endured. And now that we were well into the pregnancy, everyone wanted to celebrate with us.  So, I agreed. I allowed myself to celebrate the honor of being a mom.  It was such a beautiful celebration – all four of them were.

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 I’m usually the one planning baby showers, weddings, and birthday parties for my friends and family.  So, when my friends and family wanted to honor us with baby showers, I felt so blessed.  But I couldn’t just sit back rubbing my belly.  No ma’am!  I was adamant about being part of the planning of every single shower, but I was banned.  
 
They were however, gracious enough to allow me to cut the cake…and I did!  It wasn’t that I didn’t trust my family and friends with my shower, I just wanted to help. Do you know what I mean? Did you want to be involved  in your baby shower?

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I just love selecting the invitations, décor and the cake. Especially when these things tie into a theme that speaks to the heart of the mom-to-be.  It’s so exciting! 

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If you’re planning a baby shower, birthday party or any special occasion, selecting invitations is made easy with Basic Invite.   With so many designs, you can select the perfect invitation for your event along with thank-you cards.  At Basic Invite, you can create a baby shower invitation as unique as you are!

baby-shower-invitations-by-basic-invite

My friends and family did a great job with my showers. They were very special, and I got cake!  Do you have special memories from your baby showers?  Perhaps you need help selecting the invitation that speaks to your heart? Please visit www.basicinvite.com and share your baby shower story with me!

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

no-child-deserves-to-die-in-the-dawn-of-life
Education

I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Memphis courtesy of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to attend the Ambassador 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 recently visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as one of the new Ambassadors but this wasn’t my first life changing visit to the hospital.  My very first visit was two years ago when I was invited to attend Celebration of Hope as a representative of a global ministry. It was a weekend long event celebrating the fundraising efforts for St. Jude as well as informing friends of its successes and impact.

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I remember arriving at the hospital and immediately noticed a little girl just on the other side of the window. While we weren’t allowed to take photos of the patients, I’ll never forget her sweet little face. She had the smoothest caramel brown skin, bright white eyes, the cutest butterfly dress, and a pink headband that was so adorable, it totally made me forget about the fact that her hair had fallen out due to her cancer treatments. 

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Minutes later we were taken across the walk way where Danny Thomas and his wife were laid to rest. The St. Jude team told us how St. Jude began. The obstacles that Danny overcame to ensure that all children with cancer, regardless of race could receive treatment free of charge. 

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I’m remember tears swelling up in my eyes as I thought about the sacrifices he made to save lives. I knew then that I wanted to do my part to help further Danny’s mission.  That feeling grew stronger as I toured the hospital.  With every detail from the patient transport wagons to the ABC’s of Cancer; the garden where they grow their own food; to the amazing cafeteria where it’s prepared – allowing staff, patients and their families to eat together as one big happy family, it became clearer to me that I needed to help.

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I didn’t think I could be more impressed and passionate about the work of St. Jude, until I visited Target House.  The Target House is rent-free housing where patients and their families live for the duration of their treatment. 

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The emotional process of a family hearing that their child has cancer, a relocation to Memphis for weeks, months and sometimes years is a trial of itself.   A place like the Target House to call home makes families as comfortable as possible. 

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The amount of detail, innovation, charm, and intention that was put in creating a home away from home for a family facing possibly one of the hardest times of their lives, is so refreshing and inspiring…and more than generous. 

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Moms, at the end of my three-day visit, I was determined to contribute to the $2.4M dollars a day it takes for St. Jude to provide its services. 

As I left the last night of the Celebration of Hope and headed back to my room, I was reminded of the fact that I lost two uncles to Leukemia.  My uncle Patrick died exactly one month before I was born at the tender age of 9, he was the youngest boy of my grandmother’s children. Her oldest son, my uncle Vincent died at ripe age of 25. 

I packed my bags with tears rolling down my face thinking about my grandmother. The look on her face when my uncle Vincent passed was unbearable. I had never seen her in such pain. It confirmed my desire to me an integral part of the fabric of St. Jude.

Today, I want to do my part to help spread the word about St. Jude.  I want to help them raise money so they can continue preventing children from dying in the dawn of life from cancer.  If you want to find out more about St. Jude, please visit the website at www.stjude.org.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

 

 

 

ways-to-make-summer-and-learning-fun
Education

As I write this, we are two days away from the last day of school, and with the excitement Chance can hardly keep himself together.  I have to admit, I am really happy too.  I have this feeling of relief.  I totally feel that I am preparing for summer break as well – although I still have to work.  Summer always gives me a feeling of freedom, peace and relaxation.  You know, long hot days at the pool; kids playing all day in the neighborhood; the urge of family vacations are starting to kick in.  It all makes me feel like I’m on vacation even though I’m not! 

great-ways-to-make-summer-and-learning-fun

While we are completely ready for summer, I am not prepared.  No, I am not.  Being ready means that I am anticipating an amazing summer break for Chance and our family. Being prepared means that I have planned summer break activities that align with our goals for his summer learning experience and our family vacation plans.  You see, I am an advocate for summer learning, and I have not registered my son, Chance for one summer learning camp yet.  In my head, I am so behind…don’t judge me! LOL! 

You may be asking why in the world would I rant and rave about summer fun, then talk about summer learning? Well, it’s simple.  I believe that children can enjoy the summer having loads of fun while participating in summer learning activities.

Every student risks summer learning loss between the end of the school year to the start of another.  Statistics show:

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I can almost see your face…staggering, right?  I know, this is why when it comes to helping stanch summer learning loss, parents have a key role to play.  As moms, it’s important for us to find ways to provide our children with FUN summer learning opportunities.  So, I want to provide a few tips so you can make summer and learning fun: 

Incorporate reading into your summer plan! 

Take a trip to your local library and allow your child to pick out four to five books that he/she would enjoy reading over the summer. 

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Encourage physical activity all summer long! 

Physical health is known to enhance academic performance, so enrolling your child in an athletic camp maybe swimming, baseball, dance or golf could be a fun way to achieve this goal.

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Find educational technology opportunities during the summer!

Educational technology camps and projects are a great way to promote problem solving and critical thinking over the summer.  Perhaps building a robot together, or enrolling your child in a Lego camp could be the way to go.

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These are just a few ideas, but there are so many creative ways that we can encourage summer learning and still have fun over the summer.  I realize that most camps cost money, and sometimes way more money than we can afford.  Don’t be discouraged, visit your local teacher resource store or even Walmart for experiential-based learning resources that are a lot less expensive than a camp. For example, Summer Splash Learning Activities is a great resource, as well as the Smithsonian science projects – ranging from $9.95 to $14. 

I did that for a few years, and it worked well for Chance.  We purchased activity books for math, science, and spelling.  We played monopoly for counting, which was a fun way to include family game night as a resource.  He enjoyed a great summer and learned a lot along the way.   

Are you prepared for summer? Summer learning can be enjoyable for the whole family.  In short remember to…READ, WRITE, and PLAY!

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

Becoming More Self-Aware to Change Your Life
Education

The key to changing your life is self-awareness. To be self-aware is to examine your state, conduct and motives.  It’s the core of our character, giving us a better understanding of who we are.   

The-key-to-changing-your-life-is-self-awareness.

I like this quote from author, Kilroy J. Oldster, “A person must move beyond guilt and unexamined thoughts and motives in order to discover a purpose for living vibrantly.”  Being self-aware allows you to lead a life of purpose from a place of authenticity.

A-person-must-move- beyond-guilt-and- unexamined-thoughts- and-motives-in-order-to- discover-a-purpose-for-living-vibrantly.”

Until recently, I thought being self-aware was selfish. I did not want to be guilty of being “into” myself, or “too” focused on me.  Now I realize that those thoughts were exactly why I needed to be more self-aware.  I needed to examine myself so that I could live a life full of purpose and meaning.  So I challenged myself to take inventory and write down the things that I needed to do and or change in order to be truer to myself.

This activity was not drawn out, I literally took 3 short days, of paying close attention to my actions, thoughts, behaviors, and feelings and here’s what I found:

I did not have a clear perception of myself – my personality, emotions, weaknesses, and beliefs. 

Over the years, I have adjusted to all that life has thrown my way, and I adopted thoughts, habits and beliefs that were not my own.  Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were left questioning “how did I get here?” I had to get clear, and take a deep dive into who I am.  I observed my mood and feelings at 3 specific times throughout the day. I wanted to understand how different activities affected my behaviors and thoughts.

I had a hard time focusing my attention with intention of making things better. 

My mind would be on a thousand things at once.  I could be writing a blog post, then jump right over and send an email.  I would break my concentration to the point of major setback.  There were times when I would not complete the things that I needed to do for myself, in an effort to get things done for others.  Are you that way? Do you have trouble focusing at times?  I began paying attention to my behaviors, emotions and energy.  I became more mindful of what I was doing and what I needed to accomplish at the time.  It was hard to admit that I was not as focused as I thought I was, but I see the difference in my behaviors now.  I am more intentional about what I do.  I am carving out time to complete tasks, to do lists, and be present during family time.

I was not the best listener.

That just stung for me to admit that. I realized that I was good at hearing, but not so good at listening – and it’s not the same thing.  What’s interesting about that is, I was still pretty good at paying attention to body language and emotions, but I was not fully listening because I was constantly evaluating and thinking of a response to what I was hearing.   Are you like that? If so, by becoming a good listener, you become better at listening to your own inner voice.  When I removed the distractions of my own thoughts, I was able to listen and process what I was hearing before trying to form my response.   

 I rarely set goals, tracked my progress or celebrated my wins

I’ve always had goals, but I never wrote them down or even visualized them in a true tangible way.  I did not keep track of the progress that I made in areas of my life. If I overcame an obstacle, I did not give much thought to the how.  Once it was over, it was over.  Which made it really hard to celebrate my wins – big or small.  Are you writing down your goals, tracking your progress and celebrating your wins?  If not, start today.  It’s a great way to re-evaluate yourself, and stay on track of reaching your goal. When I started writing my goals down, I found that I was more apt to complete it, it was if I become one with those things I wrote down to accomplish.  Time stamping my goals helps me to complete them.

Author, Matthew Donnelly once said, “Life is one large process of creation: Self-Examination and introspection is simply to figure out what you want to create in this moment.”  I love this quote!  Basically, the more you pay attention to your emotions, feelings and habits, the easier it is to improve on those habits and be your authentic self.

“Life-is-one-large-process-of-creation_-Self-examination-and-introspection-is-simply-to-figure-out-what-you-want-to-create-in-this-mome

 

By becoming more self-aware, you can change your thinking – which will change your behaviors and ultimately your life.  After my short 3-day self-awareness experiment, I’ve decide to be more intentional about my periods of self-examination.  I am scheduling time to examine myself quarterly.  

Are you self-aware?  What have you learned about yourself? Having a clear understanding of how your past and life experiences has shaped you, is key to knowing who we are.  I would love to hear what you’ve learned about yourself through self-awareness exercises.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

8-things-i-love-about-being-a-mom
Inspiration

Motherhood is a funny thing. It’s challenging but fun, educational yet amazing, difficult at times, and still the most rewarding job in the world.

Growing up, I never imagined being a mom. I played with Barbie dolls, dressed them up, and often pretended to be a Barbie…but never pretended to be their mom.  It’s not that I didn’t want to be a mom, I just never thought about it as a kid.  As I am writing this, I am amazed just thinking about it especially since I love being a mom. 

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When I got married, I knew that I eventually wanted to be a mom.  My husband and I faced some very hard times as we were building a life together and trying to grow our family.  We experienced several miscarriages before being blessed with our son.  That was one of the hardest times in my life, I felt so incomplete and helpless. I was getting pregnant, but was not able to carry the baby full-term. 

I can tell you we almost gave up on trying to have a baby. The disappointment, heart-ache and embarrassment was becoming too much for me to bare.  I felt as if I was letting my husband down by not being able to give him a child. It was devastating to say the least.  It has also helped me to appreciate the little things about being a mom.  With all that we had gone through to get our baby here, we named him Chance because God gave him a chance at life. 

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I can literally write pages and pages of reasons I love being a mom, but I will do my best to sum it up in eight.

1.       Having Chance as a son. 

The best part of being a mom for me is Chance. Chance is an amazing kid with a heart of pure gold. When he was 2 years old, he shared with me that he wanted me and my husband to pay for every kid to go to daycare so that they will learn to read, because if they weren’t able to read, they couldn’t read their bible.  His love for people is humbling.

2.       The unconditional love.

I can hardly comprehend the love that I have for Chance. It’s not based on his behavior, his cute face, or his giving heart. I love him unconditionally because he is my son, my gift from God and nothing will ever change that.  It’s a love that I’ve never experienced before outside of the love I receive from God.  

 3.       Watching my son grow up.

Having an opportunity to see my son grow up, make decisions, think creatively, and treat people with kindness…all of the things that we pray for as parents is one of the most encouraging things as a mom. I watch him and realize my “epic fail’ mom moments aren’t all that bad in the long run.

4.        Helping my son develop a love for learning.

It brings me great joy to help Chance develop a love for learning.  We started him watching educational videos, learning shapes, letters, colors and numbers at just 3 months.  Early education is so important, and I love being his first teacher.

5.       Rising to the occasion. 

There’s a responsibility with being a mom that is almost immeasurable.  How we parent is the most telling story of their life. The challenge of rising to the occasion and examining myself daily gives me great joy. Being a mom inspires me to be better.  I’ve always been considerate of others, but I’ve never given thought to someone watching me day in and day out.  Being a mom changed my perspective and helped me to be more aware of my actions.

6.       Seeing my son happy. 

Seeing Chance happy gives me pure joy! When he smiles, laughs or if he is simply enjoying the moment, makes my heart smile. He loves for me to cuddle with him and rub his tummy before bed, it’s among our favorite things to do every night.  Being there and showing him affection, is one of the best ways to bring happiness to his life.  

7.       Being an example.

Having an opportunity to help shape the life he ultimately leads by seeing the life I lead in front of him is priceless.  I love showing him what to do rather than telling him. When I wanted to teach Chance to pray, I just prayed with him every night as a baby…before he could even talk. As he grew older we continued, and now he often says our family prayers. He loves to pray.

8.       Knowing that I am my son’s first love. 

There is nothing like a mother-son relationship.  I love ending my busy day listening to him share the happenings of his day, thoughts and feelings. To hear him share his heart with me, is a prized possession.

All of the above and more makes it definitely worth it to be his mom.  He made me the Motivated Mom that I am today.  I love being his mom not just on Mother’s Day, but every day.

Why do you love being a mom? Did my reasons trigger a memory or thought that you’d like to share? Please comment below and share this article, I would love to hear from you.

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

the-importance-of-knowing-who-you-are
Motivation

I was super excited to be applying for what I consider an amazing opportunity with a brand.  I’ve seen so much growth with my blog around consistency and authenticity, and the feeling of accomplishment consumed me immediately after completing the application. I finally felt qualified as a new blogger.

Until these questions popped up; “what’s your ethnicity” and “what’s your nationality”?

The questions caused me great concern; not because they were difficult or unrealistic, but because I did not know the answer.  I mean, I’m technically American since I was born in the United States.  But I really wanted to know my genetic composition.  You know, I instantly wanted to know who I was, and was slightly upset that I had no clue about the history of my ancestors. 

if-you-don't-know-history-you-don't-know-anything-quote

I didn’t even realize the depth of my concern until I was having a conversation with my blog coach Elayna, while at Hispanicize and she began explaining how most Latinas get very offended if you get their nationality wrong. If they are from Brazil and you confuse them for Dominican, they feel slighted.  (Not because the other nationality is less than, but because they are proud of who they are and where they are from.)

I sat there in absolute awe, thinking “how powerful!”  Just listening to the pride, honor and love that they carried for their country and family, was incredible – and something to be admired.  I was saying to myself “I would love to know my nationality, who I am.” During dinner, I shared my frustration with the five Latinas at the table, who were all from different countries. I told them that I was forced to select African American for both questions because I didn’t know where my roots originated.

 And while I’m proud to be an African American woman, I would like to know more about my make-up, who I am.

We need to haunt the house of history and listen anew to the ancestors wisdom.

A few weeks later, I found myself in an interesting place. I was borderline depressed and felt as if I was fading from the person I once knew as me. It took weeks to break free. I could not put my finger on the problem, but I knew I had one.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever felt as if something was not right, but not really sure how to define it?  That was me.  I tried to explain it to a few people close to me, but I couldn’t properly do so.  Then it hit me.  While I am on a journey now to find out more about who I am from DNA standpoint, I also need to find out more about who I am in this season of my life. 

I’m trying so hard to pursue my purpose, and somehow, I keep getting pulled back into the hustle of “just” making money. You know, I’m working for a paycheck because my purpose isn’t sustainable yet.  The weight of my work literally caused me not to be able to write my blog post last week.  I was stuck.

That place of uncertainty had caused me great grief.  I’ve over analyzed and under planned, which left me exhausted.  The feeling of depression was real. I was not imagining those feelings. I told myself, it’s okay not to be okay. But it’s not okay to stay that way.

Peace of mind always comes with knowing who you truly are, where you currently stand, where you posit

There were three things I realized, and deemed noteworthy during my experience about the importance of knowing who you are.  When you don’t know who you are:

·         You will begin filling that void with things and people that are not in alignment with your dreams and goals.

·         You will lack confidence in your purpose, talents and abilities to fulfill your destiny.

·         You will start settling for anything in hopes to have something.

Moms, I was really struggling.  Sharing this story with you is a critical part of my healing. As I type, I feel freer. Knowing that I don’t have to pretend to be perfect while discovering who I am at my core, and living my maximum capacity is invigorating.

The last few weeks, I discovered I must always take inventory and assess how my environment is affecting who I am becoming. Am I staying true to my roots, my core? Or am I feeling stuck because I am taking on the identity of my lack?

Do you know who you are? How are you handling the adjustment of BECOMING?  I’ve decided to order a DNA test and find out more about my heritage.  I’ve also decided to speak life to myself and live in my truth.  I love being me!

 

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

 

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.

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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.

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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