I recently hosted the Motivated Mom Tour in Atlanta.  The Motivated Mom Tour is a half day intensive experience designed to equip an intimate group of 125 moms to be “Great Women and Extraordinary Moms” by offering life-changing content to help activate their dreams. 


The event powered by Prudential, Coca-Cola, Hilton, BETher, Cantu, Real Beauty Real Women, and Black Enterprise is for the entrepreneur mom, working mom, stay-at-home mom, or aspiring mom representing different socio-economic backgrounds, education, and cultures gather together to participate in empowering discussions around finance and wealth building, entrepreneurship, goal planning, and parent engagement.   We bring out some exceptional speakers and influencers like Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, Dania Santana, Nicci Gilbert Daniels, and Michele Thornton Ghee to name a few.      



During the Atlanta event, I felt off.  I couldn’t gather my thoughts, I stumbled a lot, and had a hard time being in the moment.  By the time we made it to the Empowerment Panel Luncheon, I struggled to get my thoughts out.  I even had trouble reading the notes I typed for myself (which I never use by the way).  I managed to make a few announcements and introduce the panelists.  I began with the first question and by the time the second panelist began to answer, I fell over on Dania, she was closest to me.  I could not believe what just happened, but I felt horrible.  I stood up, walked off stage, asked for someone to take over and left the room.  As soon as I went out of the door, I began falling forward toward the ground.  Not only could I not moderate my panel, but I was not able to return to the event.  I was so scared because I did not feel that I had control of my body.  I could not walk on my own, I was shaking like a leaf, and my friends were looking at me with a great deal of concern.


While I was being escorted to my room by Yvonne, all I could think and say was how embarrassing.  I asked Yvonne “what is happening?’  She responded with “I’m not sure, it sounds like vertigo, but you have nothing to be embarrassed about.”  The guilt was overwhelming, so much so that I believe I was putting even more pressure on myself.  Once I made it to my room, I immediately feel into a deep sleep.  I was given an antihistamine since Yvonne and one of the attendees who happened to be in the hallway and overheard the conversation thought it was Vertigo.  When I awoke, I began reflecting on when I began feeling ill.


I initially thought about how I feel when flying, I get sick to my stomach and feel like passing out during landing.  This had been happening for about a month or so.  I had experienced hot flashes, nausea, and headaches.  And it happened on Thursday when I flew into Atlanta for the Tour.  So, I thought it was a carryover from the flight.  Shortly after the medic arrived in my room and confirmed that he too thought it was vertigo.  I rested and prepared myself to fly home the next day. 


Laying in that hotel room I grew very upset with myself.  How dare I blame myself for being sick? And then it hit me…. When one of my sponsors was brought me to the room she said, “La’Toyia why are you embarrassed? You’re the Motivated Mom, you’re not perfect.”  Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever felt guilty about something that made you human?

Several people reached out asking if I was feeling better. Telling me how they were praying for me and how they enjoyed the event. I have to admit, it gave me a great deal of relief to know that everyone had a great time – in spite of me of being sick and things going off script due to my absence.


The messages from attendees also triggered me to deal with the guilt that I placed on myself.  The truth is, I was not taking good care of myself. I was so busy being the motivated mom that I forgot to consider LaToyia.  As I thought my about it, I began to cry and made these personal self-care vows to myself.  I vow to:


  • Take Care of LaToyia: I will mediate daily on God’s word and pray, aligning myself with God’s perfect will and receiving His grace, mercy and direction for a fulfilled life.
  • Make Healthier Choices: I will not make decisions out of convenience, rather I will make better choices about the food I eat – more fresh fruits and veggies, less sugars and processed foods.
  • Say Yes Less: I am giving myself permission to focus on what’s really important.  I am eliminating things that are not critical to my life and the life of my family.


These three vows are essential to me.  This incident was just another reminder that I need to be more intentional about taking care of myself.  Over the last year, I’ve had a series of illnesses, meltdowns, and mini-emergencies that I truly believe could have been avoided had I been more intentional about my own self-care.

Being the Motivated Mom is my choice! Taking care of myself is my RESPONSIBILITY! These are tools for me to ensure that as the Motivated Mom – I LIVE a life of purpose, in abundance, and financially free.  I am determined to practice these vows regularly.

How are you taking care of yourself? Do you need to start? I’m here with you for the journey, as moms we can do it together.


© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


I’ve been making some pretty big changes with how I live my life lately.  I decided to change my perspective through self-examination and see myself as being my best self.  During my internal journey, I realized that I was a shrinker. I was not living up to my full potential, so I gave myself permission to shine.  You know the moment that you recognize your potential and decide to go for it rather than playing small…that’s what I did.

Today I want to look at intentional living.  Living intentionally means something different for each individual.  Being intentional means I live a fulfilling life that I am actively engaged in every day. 



By deciding how we are going to think and what we will do when facing the many choices everyday about our faith, family, health and financial future – starts us on our journey to live intentional.  For me, an example of intentional living concerning my faith is found in Ephesians 5:10, “Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” (KVJ) I want to be intentional about pleasing God, and doing that will change other areas of my life.

Intentional living means knowing your WHY

I read a book by Suzanne Evans titled The Way You Do Anything Is the Way You Do Everything about a year ago.  While the books help you to understand the WHY of why your business isn’t making more money…it is also a fast track to fixing you.  I mention the book because the title of the book is an illustration of intentional living. 

I love the quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”  Living an intentional life is about knowing why you do what you do. And the why will always impact the way.  When you know your why, the way you do things will change. 




Intentional living means accepting your IMPERFECTIONS

No one is perfect…not even me” is what I tell myself daily.  Living intentional means to strive to grow while accepting your perfectly imperfect self.  Our imperfections are what make us unique. Yes, they are the flaws of our humanity known as differences. 

Surround yourself with other moms or women that will encourage you to love yourself just the way you are or help you work on those imperfections – one at a time that cause you the greatest amount of grief. Brené Brown is the author of the New York Times Bestseller The Gifts of Imperfection says it this way, “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”




Intentional living means practicing being MINDFUL

Determine what you want your life to communicate and then be good at it.  Living intentional means to be mindful and present in the moment.   Being mindful is an awareness of thoughts, feelings and emotions.  It involves slowing down and accepting whatever that comes into your awareness.  I have started to pay more attention to my moments and enjoy them.  I settle my mind around where I am and what I am doing….and I enjoy it.  



Practicing mindfulness could mean rising early for morning mediations, walking in the park, or it could be as simple as turning off all electronics during dinner or a period of time during the day.  Jon Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts and he said, “Mindfulness is a way of befriending ourselves and our experiences.”  The more you practice being mindful, the more you will understand how your feelings or thoughts affect and influence each other and the way you show up in your life.

Living intentionally means that you are able to see what others are doing, celebrate them and then do what is best for you and your family without influence.  Before every action, take a moment to determine if what you are doing is aligned with the life you want.  This is critically important because if we aren’t careful and mindful, we can find ourselves doing things that does not serve our purpose and growing frustrated as time goes on. 

Are you ready to live intentionally? Living intentionally gives you permission to make time for the things that are truly important to you. How will you live intentionally?


© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


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.

As a child, I dreamed of being on television.  If anyone asked me “what do you want to be when you grow up” I would say an actress.  I was dead set on displaying my talents on the big screen.

When I was in the 7th grade I took drama at Hale Jr. High School in Woodland Hills, California.  It was the most exciting and terrifying class ever. I was so nervous, I often thought to myself why in the world do I want to do this?  I persevered through that class, but I did not stick to it after that.  As a matter of fact, I did not take another drama or acting class again. 

Earlier this year I attended the Disney Dreamer Academy as press.  It was my second time attending the event, but the first time I could experience the entire event, meet the Team and see the wonderful impact that it had on both the Dreamers and their parents. 




While there, I wondered, “if I had attended an event like Disney Dreamer Academy as a child, would I have held on and pursued my dream of being an actress?’  I honestly couldn’t help but wonder especially since the room was full of Dreamers and Dream Encouragers.  From Steve Harvey to Miki Taylor, the parents and celebrity guests, and the entire Disney Cast and Staff – the Dreamers in that room had a wealth of resources and support!

I definitely think had I been exposed to the Disney Dreamer Academy as a kid, I would be an actress on television today.  What is the Disney Dreams Academy?  I’m glad you asked.

“Disney Dreamers Academy is a power-packed, 4-day event held annually at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, in which 100 select high school students, ages 13-19, are inspired to dream big and get a jump-start on making those dreams come true!”

At the Disney Dreamer Academy, the Dreamers experience what is called Dreamer Inspiration where they learn more about the transformational power of dreams that will open a new world of possibilities for them and their future.   

One of the transformational moments happened when William Williams hit the stage and performed his spoken word entitled “Power of Courage & Faith.”

Amazing, right? His courage, creativity, and testimony lead him to win the 2017 Disney Dreamers Courage Award.

As a mom, one of my main jobs is to help my son Chance find his purpose, path and follow his dreams.  Everyone has a passion, you know, something that makes their smile big and eyes bright.  I am committed to helping Chance follow his dreams by encouraging his creativity and exposing him to things that bring him joy and excitement.  He’s eight, so he is not old enough to attend the Disney Dreamer Academy, but when he is, I am certainly going to help him apply to be a Dreamer!

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”– Eleanor Roosevelt


When our children believe they can be great, have a destiny and future ahead of them, they tend to avoid risky behaviors. When they are passionate about something, like William and his spoken word…not only are they more apt to pursue it, they have less time for trouble and things that could potentially steal their dreams.

Disney is currently looking for the 2018 Dreamers for next year’s Disney Dreamers Academy program.  The program will help your child convert their dreams into goals, and create a plan to make those goals a reality.  Potential Dreamers must be between the ages of 13-19, enrolled in high school, grades 9th through 12th and living in the United States. 

My childhood dream of becoming an actress has not come true yet, but I have not given up on it. I’m confident that I will make my debut on television one day.  As for Chance, I am constantly exposing him to opportunities and investing in those things that bring him the most joy and excitement in hopes that one day, he will attend the Disney Dreamer Academy and they will help further inspire, motivated and prepare him to continue to DREAM BIG!

Are you ready to help your child be a Dreamer? Well, if you have a child that fits the qualifications mentioned above, one way to do so is to complete and submit the application by October 31, 2017.   


© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


Hey Beautiful! Yes, I called you beautiful and I meant it.  Didn’t that feel great?  To be called beautiful…or for someone to simply see you for who you are is such a special feeling.

I recently had a conversation with a friend while traveling for work. We were sitting in her hotel room having cake and cocktails taking about life and the similar things that we are dealing with now from events when we were children.  It was so ironic. We discovered we had so many experiences we didn’t realize we had in common.

I began telling her about a very interesting place that I find myself in this season of my life.  How I am becoming more conscious of how the situations and circumstances of my past truly affected my life along with how they are showing up in various areas of my life impacting my decisions making.  Have you had this happen to you? 

I thought by acknowledging my past I would be able to move forward.  And now, I am realizing that isn’t the case at all.   Just because I acknowledged, doesn’t mean that I don’t have to deal with the consequences of it happening. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have to work through my insecurity, confidence, or self-love issues.  Have you ever had to deal with things from your past that affected you moving forward with life?


My friend told me that my life was so similar to her life. She then said to me, “if you never do anything else for me, I will love you just the way you are.” My eyes began to tear up and I looked at her with this shocked and very vulnerable look on my face. And she further explained her comment by saying, “you give to everyone all the time, and you don’t have to give me anything to love you. I love you for being you.”

I was hardly able to see her face through my tears. I was crying because I truly appreciated her friendship and those very kind words.  I was also crying because I truly discovered my worth first hand. Those words helped me to love, appreciate, and see myself even if no one else does.  Once I stopped crying, I told her how much I truly appreciated her with those very kind words and how those words helped me to see the pain and circumstances of my past were restricting me in my present. 

As a kid, I was mostly recognized when I was giving to others.  If I cleaned the house, helped with homework, or gave them toys to play with….it mattered when I was giving. So, to get the attention that I desired I did for others even to my own detriment.  I realized that things were not too different in my adult life.  My blog coach told me once that I was “hiding” in my writing. She said, “if you are hiding in one area, you are hiding in other areas as well”.  Well, during my conversation with my friend I thought about Elayna’s comment about hiding.  I was hiding from myself.

This confession is bringing tears to my eyes all over again.  As it was the first time ever that I’ve admitted that I have not been honest with myself about who I was.  I did not truly love and appreciate myself with all of my imperfections for who I was.


When I made it back to my room, I sat on the bed with tears falling down my face once again while I said aloud “LaToyia I love you. I believe in who you are and I forgive you for the mistakes you’ve made. You are bigger than the sum of your mistakes and you are not to blame for the awful things that happened to you. You are a gem of a person and if you were not the Motivated Mom, a sought-after fundraiser, or an encourager of people in general…I would still love you. If you did not serve at church, or give to those less fortunate…I would love you. I love you LaToyia. I love you for simply being the person God created you to be. The person He knew you would be before you were formed in your mother’s womb. And while your mother’s experience with conception wasn’t pleasant, your creation was perfect.  I love you LaToyia and you deserve all that God had for you”.

You see, I now know that we show others how to treat us by how we treat ourselves. Sometimes you are doing such a great job but your own personal hurt and pain can blind you from your own greatness.  God will sometimes send a friend to tell you something about you that you could not see about yourself that will trigger you to see yourself the way He created you…. very valuable!  And guess what, it doesn’t make you self-centered or full of yourself but makes you appreciative, powerful, focused, and happy that you now know your worth and what matters most – YOU!

Do you know your worth? Your worth is not defined by your past, job, money, or how others feel about you. Your mistakes, failures, and shortcomings does not dictate your worth. You are worthy because you are.


© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


In January 2016 while attending an event, a two-part question was posed to a panel of amazingly beautiful women. It was “why do women shrink, and explain a time when you shrank.  The question hit me so hard. I felt like they were asking me, as if no other women were in the room. 

Moments when I shrank flooded my mind. It was the most vivid memories ever. Like the time when I was invited to a meeting with what could have been a huge client.  I had a solid plan completely prepared to present. I didn’t speak up so I didn’t get the opportunity. 

Or the time when I was in a room with key decision makers about a project but didn’t share my knowledge in the moment so I missed out on a chance to manage the foundation of an A-list celebrity. 

Then there was the moment when I was given an opportunity to speak on a huge platform but I recommended someone else for the job.  The funny thing is, that person did not hesitate or encourage me to do it….they took their opportunity.  I did not have the right people around me encouraging me to stretch and rise to the occasion and follow my dreams. 

There are countless others but I now refuse to let moments like that pass me by again. I want to be my best self and help others do the same.  Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever shrunk in a moment of opportunity and regretted it later?

I don’t know about you but I am over shrinking. Starting now, I am determined to end my shrinking streak. I will rise to the occasion of my life and opportunities given to me. And I’d like to invite you to join me. Here’s the plan:

First, we stop holding back our greatness in order to make others feel comfortable.  That’s right, give yourself permission to shine.  This isn’t done overnight, we will create a laser-focused plan to take control of our story, follow your dreams, and achieve the success you envisioned by being your authentic self.  


Then, be authentically, unapologetically your big, bold, bad to the bone self.  We have earned the right not to allow another person’s unhappiness make us feel small. 


Finally, surround our self with people that will encourage us to grow, not those who seeks to limit our potential and keep us stagnant.  



Don’t shrink, do the best you can with what you have available.  You decide what your best life looks like.  You assume the role of director in your life, and live out your most meaningful life story.

Are you ready to stop shrinking? Today is the day to stop shrinking and start being the best version of yourself. Please share how you are releasing smallness, and living up to your full potential.


© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


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.



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


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


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


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


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


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












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. 


 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.


 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?

about-to eat-baby-shower-cake

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! 



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!


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


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.


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. 


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. 


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.


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. 


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. 


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. 


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





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! 


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:


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. 


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.


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.


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

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.   


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.



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