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.

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

 

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

once-we-accept-our-limits-we-move-beyond-them-albert-Einstein-quotes

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

our-deepest-fear-quote-by-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-weed-is-no-more-than-a-flower-in-disguise-james-Russell-Lowell-quote

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

enjoying-opening-gift-with-my-hubby

 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.

baby-shower-photo

 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! 

 basic-invite-anchors-aweigh-invitation

 

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.

welcome-to-st-jude-ambassador-programs

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. 

st-jude-childrens-research-hospital

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. 

st-jude-pavilion

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.

the-st-jude-garden-and-abc-wall-of-cancer

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-target-house-at-st-jude

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-target-house-at-st-jude-2

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. 

photos-of-of-the-st-jude-target-house

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:

summer-learning-loss-motivated-mom

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. 

reading-quote

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.

play-quote

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.

tech-quote

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

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

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