I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles courtesy of Disney to attend the #BlackPantherEvent & ABCTVEvent in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.

With a smile and his traditional laid-back demeanor, Forest Whitaker sat down and spoke saying “hi, hey everybody” before getting comfy in his seat.  I’m a forever fan and just loved how kind and personable he was.  I think I loved him more as she shared about himself and as I learned about the admiration he carried for Ryan Coogler. 

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

Talking with Forest confirmed everything that I had believed about him from other roles, interviews, and photos.  At the top of the interview he mentioned that having the right thoughts and internal life helps him to master his roles.  I knew then that I was in for a real treat and proceeded to hang on every word. 

I am very fond of authentic people. Those who are completely comfortable being themselves, primarily because it was a struggle for me for many years.  When asked if there was a superstition or a ritual he’d do before going into character or did he always have that sort of smoothness about him, he answered,

“I guess I’m always trying to do all the research.  I do the research and I start to study the different people and the things that they do, then work on the different voices…and then slowly it just comes together.  I don’t know if there’s a magic formula.  At some point, I can say, the magic formula for me is I just surrender.  I say to myself, this is your space, and let’s make it happen and do it.  I believe.”

I’m a believer that when we surrender to who it is that we are to become, we give ourselves permission to be.  Yes, he’s an actor and it’s his job…but as people, women, moms – surrendering and believing in yourself is truly your secret sauce. 

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

Do you believe that we should be aware of how the things we do relate to current events and the impact thereof?  I do, I think it’s important to give attention to your work and the role you play in empowering others.  Surrendering also means taking responsibility of what you are surrendering to.  Regarding the message that he hopes viewers take away from the film, Forest said,

I think that we are our brothers’ keepers.  That we must, even in our own comfort, be able to reach out and help others, it’s important.  The message of female empowerment both physically and mentally, and the power it expresses.  Also, the message about Killmonger and him representing our youth, and how we’re molded by our environments and how we have to step in and try to move those things forward.”

 “Other messages, like Colonialism.  Finding your own voice.  Empowerment – I think the movie deals with empowerment, particularly for people of color, but for everyone.  There are a lot of messages in the movie.”

I interpret being “my brother’s/sister’s keeper” by selflessly helping others even when they don’t realize they need help.  As a person that seeks to be a resource to others, I agree and want nothing more…well a few other things for the film but it is my hope that these are among the takeaways from this film for everyone.  It certainly was a takeaway for me after seeing the film. 

Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy by Marvel Studios

There will be times in our lives where we experience fear.  I hear a lot of people talking about fear as if they’ve never faced it.  But when we are constantly doing new and different things, like constantly playing different roles, it is likely that we will become fearful.  Forest said,

Every experience is really different.  Every movie that I do, most of the time, is different, and then when it starts to get too similar, then I know that there’s something wrong.  And if I can’t feel a little fear about it, and I don’t feel like I’m going to change or grow from it, then it’s something wrong.  Maybe I shouldn’t be doing it.  And then I have to examine the reasons why, whether it’s life, or something else, you know what I mean?”

I like how Forest makes his fear work for him.  There’s been times when I was of afraid of doing new things and that fear did not propel me, instead it hindered me.  Perhaps it’s happened to you as well.  I dare not say that it won’t happen again but I feel more confident in my ability to make my fear work for me now. 

Photo Credit: Natasha Nicholes – Houseful of Nicholes

When you believe in yourself, the potential of following your passion and living a life of purpose is likely.  Surrender and make peace with who you are and where you – that truth will open doors of opportunity to you goals and dreams. 

Right before the close of the year I struggled with surrendering to my new normal and believing in myself.  My status changed but my thinking about myself stayed the same.  I recently had to tell myself that I have purpose, I am powerful, and I trust myself to rise to every occasion and be the me that God created me to be. 

While much of my transition happened before my trip to the BLACK PANTHER World Premiere, I honestly owe the boost of confidence and belief in myself to the #BlackPantherEvent.  The opportunities to chat with Forest, Lupita, Danial, and Danai – to hear their perspectives and learn from their experiences was just want I needed to renew my belief in myself.

Have you struggled with believing in yourself? What did you takeaway from the responses from Forest Whitaker?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom

P.S. Forest gave an amazing Performance in BLACK PANTHER.  It’s in theatres everywhere on February 16th, please check it out, and follow Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  And please follow the other bloggers using the #BlackPantherEvent hashtag.  Check out the trailer:



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.   


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.


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


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. 


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. 


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

Encourage and Support Your Children to Pursue Their Dreams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mom, I want to be an entrepreneur like you


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

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

Daddy can tach me how to camp

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

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

Encourage and Support His Dreams

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

Be the Example 

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

Love Unconditionally

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

Chance and mommy

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

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

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

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


I looked as if I had it all together, but inside I was dying. I decided that I would make death a reality.  

Because my relationship with my parents was dysfunctional, and my family talked about me and I just did not see my life getting better.  I went to the edge of the bridge, ready to jump off.  

Suddenly, a car came speeding over the bridge, and slammed on the brakes.  The driver jumped out of the car yelling

–  “help me, help me, somebody please help me” as he raced to the back seat of the passenger side of the car.  

He swung the door open, looking in the car with a look on his face that caused my heart to fill with compassion.  Before I knew it, I had jumped off the ledge of the bridge running towards the car yelling:

  • ” what is it sir, how can I help you. Please, what’s wrong?”  

When I made it to the back seat of the car, that driver pushed me in the car so hard, my head hit the back of the driver seat. He jumped in, locked the doors and drove as fast as he could to the nearest hospital.  

I began to yell and scream, and he calmly said:

  • “ God has a plan for your life, you will not commit suicide tonight” and I just began to cry.

I knew that He was an angel, and I was so happy that I did not jump into the Des Plaines River that day.  He took me to the hospital and disappeared.

When I made it to the hospital, I was expecting for them to admit me into a psych ward, or question me about my thoughts.  But none of that happened, a nurse came to me…she could tell that I had been crying.  

“are you in pain?” She said.

I shook my head no.

“Well stop crying, because you are going to be just fine.” She said.

I said “thank you”, and walked out of that hospital.

All of my 18 years of life I struggled to deal with the implications of what happened to me as a child.  My self esteem was so low, I did not feel worthy of love.  Nor did I believe that anyone truly loved me, because I then thought that I was damaged goods. I felt guilty about not having been able to stop the abuse, I even blamed myself.

Years of abuse made me feel that I had no control over my life or my body.  I felt that I had no other options. I had just been raped a few days ago.  A fun, silly time riding around with my cousins and a friend squirting people with water guns, ended in me being taken against my will and being forced in a car with four guys that I knew, but certainly did not want to be with.  While in the car, one of the passengers began shooting at another car. They took me to a small one bedroom house behind a nightclub, waiting for the paper to be released the next day. I was raped by the shooter, and spent 13 hours afterwards alone, sitting in the middle of the living room floor, watching the door that was locked by a deadbolt and the windows that were nailed shut, scared that it would be the last scene of my life.  

When I made it back to my aunt’s house, no one was at all concerned. I felt that they thought I deserved it, or I stayed out all night with them because I wanted too.  Over the next several hours, the childhood abuse was so overwhelming in my head and heart, I just wanted it to be over. I was exhausted from begging for love only to be disappointed.  Overcoming the abuse did not seem like it could ever be a reality.

I remembered the apartment complex in the hills of California, the view was amazing.  The pool that was nestled in the middle of the complex.  For some reason, I didn’t remember the actual sexual act, but what I did remember was being maybe seven years old sitting on the toilet for nearly 20 minutes trying to pee because it hurt so bad.  I remembered finally finishing in the bathroom and being dunked in the pool up to my neck and being told:

  • “if you tell anyone what I did to you, I will drown you.”

It was as if my life was flashing before my eyes, I remembered around age 10, maybe 11 my mother’s boyfriend’s son forced me to be sexual with him.  The room was dark with bunk beds. I was so afraid to say anything to my mom, honestly I was just happy to be living with her at the time.  Once he finished, I remember thinking that this behavior was normal.  That’s when I started to think and feel that I was only wanted for sex.

My low self-esteem affected many areas of my life. My relationships, health and even my success. The years of abuse made me so isolated, I was not comfortable being my true self…I felt that she had disappeared and would never be found again.  I did a pretty good job of masking my low expectations and feelings about myself, but not very well.  It was evident that I was insecure.  I kept myself up, I dressed it up with cute clothes and pretty hair.  I was existing, but did not have a life.  Especially not the life that my loving grandmother always believed that I would have.  That’s why I felt my only option was to end my life.  

I lived with those secrets and several others thereafter.  I never wanted anyone to know that I had been raped and molested, as if it were my fault. As a kid, you don’t know…the only thing you know is the embarrassment and guilt you feel as a result of your innocence being taken away from you.  I have asked myself over the years “why didn’t I tell?”  Then I thought, who was I going to tell?  Who would have believed me?

Coming to Terms with the Past and Overcoming Abuse

Today, I’ve come to terms with the things that have happened to me. I don’t understand everything, and I am still working through it daily.  But I am in a better place of acceptance. I realize that a stranger, my angel made it to the bridge at the perfect time to save my life…and I’ve never seen that guy again.

I was also saved by grace for a purpose. And while it is painful for me to remember and sort through the difficulties of my past, I am thankful that I can share them to provide healing for myself and others.  Overcoming abuse is a process, but I know now that it is possible for me, and you.

All of the painful experiences impacted me in ways that I was not ready to even accept at the time.  It would take years before I came to grips with what happened to me, and how I needed to deal with the effects of my personal tragedies to start the journey of overcoming abuse.

If you’ve experienced rape, molestation, abuse or abandonment – that caused you to consider ending your life, I am glad that you are reading this, and that you know that you are not alone.  Those feelings are real. The depression, worthlessness, and loneliness are REAL, but not impossible to overcome. You too can heal and live a passionate, full and promising life.

We all have a past. How are you using your past experiences to propel you into a purposed future?

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


When do you really have time to look at who you really are? With managing family, a job, your brand, your social media, and the tremendous desire to live a life of purpose…when do you have time to fully examine yourself, to even know what it means to be who you are?  

I can tell you, I haven’t had much time to think about it either. I actually chose to believe that I was the perfect imperfect person in my head.  I didn’t proclaim to know it all, but I was confident in that which I knew.  I never thought that I was everyone’s favorite, but I was certainly likable. I wouldn’t have considered myself a liar, but I wasn’t always truthful. These are the things that I was contending with…being honest with myself about who I am and who I truly desire to be. 

To Be Who You Are, You Must be Honest with Yourself

The hardest thing I’ve ever done is to be honest with myself – which is a must if you want to truly be who you are. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. So many things happen in life, and sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the good due to the severity of the bad. 

So earlier this year I hired a blog coach, who turned out to be so much more than a “blog” coach. I had to admit recently to her that I was hiding my truths. When she asked why I was hiding, I said that I was afraid that people would judge me. But then this statement was made “well the real concern is, if you are hiding in those areas what other areas are you hiding”?  

My heart nearly stopped, and I tried to hide the panic on my face of revealing my flaws.  Ironically, I am going through a very bitter sweet time in my life. While I am pursuing a life of purpose, I am challenged in a lot of ways. So this question further revealed to me that I have a few more layers to peel back before I make it to the core of who I was created to be.

I know, I know, what does my hiding have to do with you coming to be who you are? Well…my hiding has nothing to do with you, but what you’re hiding has everything to do with you.  I hid because…

 Stop Hiding and Be Who You Are

  • I hid because… I am sometimes afraid of success. 
  • I hid because… I am not always confident in my ability to succeed. 
  • I hid because… I have not always been who I am. 
  • I hid because, until now… I was not ok with who I WAS. 

Who was that exactly? I’m glad you asked

I was a girl that was born as a product of rape, who desired a normal relationship with my parents, and at a very young aged raped myself just to grow up thinking that men only wanted me for sex. 

I was a girl wounded and scared, who fought like hell to live beyond my scars. 

I was a girl raised by a grandmother that sewed a promise in my heart that I was worthy of loving. 

I was a girl that lived far too long in the shadows of my greatness and decided that it was time for me to live as I was created to live. 

What about you?

When will you decide to let go of who you are not, and be who you are, who you were created to be? 

In life, the choices we make eventually make us. And those experiences shape and could possibly ruin our lives. But they don’t have to. I recently watched a movie that changed my life, my heart, and my thinking. It was called Me Before You.  It’s a beautiful story of a mother’s love, a man’s determination to stay true to himself, and a women’s journey of learning to live.  

During the movie I had so many thoughts. The title Me Before You rang so loud in my head. I thought of me before my audience, and how easy it would be if I did not have to contend with myself so I can help you be a better you. I thought of me before my son and how blessed I am to be his mother, but how important it is for me to take care of myself so that I can properly parent him. I thought of me before my husband, and how thankful I am to be with him but I certainly don’t want to lose the qualities that attracted him to me in the first place. I thought about me before Christ, and this is when everything changed….again. I don’t want to ever go back to her. 

Live Boldly and Freely

That was the me that made me hide. She’s been my biggest hurdle, and even my greatest enemy. She was the enemy in me. At the end of the movie, the man writes a letter. It said a lot, but the last words to her were LIVE BOLDLY AND FREELY

That’s what I’m doing from today forward. I’m living boldly and freely in my specific and unique purpose. And I challenge you to do the same. 

  • Be honest with yourself about why and what you hid, and who you desire to be…then be it. 
  • Don’t let the disappointments of your past determine your amazing future.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others, you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

It’s really true, we overcome by the power of our testimonies. Becoming who we were created to be is not easy. If you need to hire a coach, or link up with an accountability partner to help you….you should.  “So do yourself a favor, share your story below about your quest to be who you are and allow others to be set free to share theirs!”

© LaToyia Dennis ~ Motivated Mom


Friday, April 08, 2016
Pray before Answering: It’s for your good!

A few days ago a friend sent me a text. She said when she saw it, I was the first person she thought of. It said “Pray Before Answering” and when I saw it I knew why she instantly thought of me. You see friends, I’m going through a transition in my life. Well…there are a few things happening at once, but it is a result of my transition.

For nearly 20 years I’ve been a fundraising and nonprofit professional. I love the nonprofit sector, as I am currently the Executive Director of A Chance to Learn, and I serve as a consultant for a few other organizations. I love my life’s mission. However, as of late I’ve been finding it very difficult to enjoy my work. And after lots of prayer, good advice from trusted friends, and self-examination…I finally understand why.

Three years ago I began the journey of Hatching….breaking out of my shell and becoming who God created me to be. Well my hatch happened, and last year I entered to the Leaping stage…moving from my comfort zone to pursue purpose. And now, I’m on the road to soar. And this is not an easy journey. It has caused me to examine myself, my goals and motives.

If you know me…..then you know that I’ve always been a cheerleader, and now I’ve been elevated to Team Captain. Whew! What an overwhelming, yet amazing position. My challenge until today was, I did not properly accept the elevation. I was still trying to be a cheerleader, wreaking havoc and not meeting expectations for myself and others.

As a fundraiser, I’m sought out a lot. There are so many great causes and events, and they need people like me. In the past, I’ve always been successful in raising money…meeting and often times exceeding my goals. But lately, it’s been tough. I could not understand what I was doing wrong. Then I realized that I am doing anything wrong….change is happening.  There are things that I need to do for my purpose, and my time is now to step into that Team Captain role. Things are not going to be the same. But, in order to soar, I have to focus on me. This is very different for me, but it’s for my good.

I know…what’s my point? My point is….pay attention to your elevation. Things change. Don’t be afraid to adjust to the growth in your life. The reinvention process is inevitable when you pursue purpose. There’s always a “getting better” process. I’ll leave you with this, it will help you to understand the elevation process. Pastor Rischer said it best, he said “elevation is when you have no choice but to move.”

I’m moving, and I have no choice….because I am accepting full responsibility as a Team Captain. I want you to do the same. I’m a Motivated Mom – and I approve this message.

LaToyia Dennis – The Motivated Mom


LaToyia Dennis

Thursday, March 24, 2016
The Fundraising Expert vs The Motivated Mom

Recently, I attended the Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference in Boston, MA. It was a great conference, with lots of great content.  It was exactly what I needed! It reminded me of the importance of my role as a fundraiser. After a few of the sessions, I thought about the importance of my role as a mom. Then, it hit me! Being a fundraiser has a lot of similarities of being a mom.

There were three major contributors that influenced my feelings.  One was a comment made by one of the facilitators. He said, “The future of philanthropy comes from engaging donors as children, so it becomes part of the fabric of their learning.”  Before I knew it, I said “Wow!” out loud. Truly, I gained so many perspectives from this one statement. As a fundraiser, we are always helping our donors learn more about why, what, and how we make life better for those we serve. As a mom,  I began to think about my responsibility to prepare my son for his future by engaging in his education, so the love for learning becomes part of his fabric. I thought to myself, am I teaching my son the importance of philanthropy? Because the future of philanthropy will rest with him and his generation real soon. (you may want to add a one or two more sentences to elaborate on this.)

The second contributor that influenced my feelings was a picture that a facilitator shared during her presentation. It is the picture that is use in this blog. It reads, “I’m here to help good take over the world”.


This statement brought me to tears. Then suddenly, I remembered the why! Why I do what I do and why what I do is so important. I began to cry. At that moment my mind collided with my heart. More than ever I felt an urgency to do more….to help GOOD take over the world. As a mom, I want my son, Chance, to live in a world that is diverse, inclusive, equal, fair, good and gives him the best CHANCE to live out his true potential. Not a world filled with injustice, inequality, and hatred. It’s imperative that we help good take over the world.  Not only for us but for the sake of our children. How can we not? How can we not?

The last contributor was Claire Wilkinson. This was the last sessions that I attended. Claire’s father, Jay Wilkinson presented. It was the most personal workshop that I attended during the conference. Don’t get me wrong, he had very good content relating to the technology trends that is shaping a new reality for nonprofits. However, he shared many sweet and personal videos of children which helped support his presentation points.  The videos were very refreshing. One of the videos was Claire during her high-school years.  She feel into depression after some very mean people used words to break her spirit. Clair is fine now and the session ended with an amazing video of her living her dreams.  She shares her childhood experiences while encouraging others to be ok with their journey, and not to give up. As a fundraiser, it’s tough to get a “No” when seeking funding. However, it is important to know that the “No” is not about you. A “No” doesn’t mean that we have to stop being a fundraiser.  

As a mom, it reminded me of how very important it is for us to:

1) not expect our children to be perfect.

2) to help them overcome the desire to feel like they need to be perfect.   

We have to help them to keep going when they are told you didn’t make the team; you didn’t get the part; or when they are simply told “No”. That way, the know how to deal with “No” as they continue to grow.

To my Motivated Moms, I hope this was helpful to you. I feel so renewed since attending the conference. I can hardly hold back the tears while writing this blog. One of the most invigorating feelings is to know WHY you were born. If you don’t know WHY, please allow me to motivate you to make that discovery.


Latoyia Dennis

Thursday, March 03, 2016
Help…I’m Feeling Stuck!!!
How to deal with feeling stuck!

I’m currently going through a period of feeling stuck.  My stuck feeling is very interesting in the fact that, I am moving in the direction that I should be going….but I am finding it very hard to let go of what I should not be doing.  Either way….I’m feeling stuck.

If this is you, I know it’s tough but we will make it through.  If you feel like everything is going exactly as planned, enjoy it now but keep reading.  It is very likely that you will at some point feel stuck.  Here are a few things to remember when you’re feeling stuck. You may want to print this out or make quick notes, you may have to refer to it often when you are caught in the quick sand of life.

Accept and acknowledge – You have to accept and acknowledge where you are in order to move forward.  Feeling stuck does not feel good. It’s embarrassing to even admit because we want to always appear that we have it all together.  But the truth is, we all feel stuck at some point in our lives and understanding and accepting that reality will help you get unstuck.  What I quickly began to understand is that my feeling stuck was internal.  It was my perception….and what I love about perception is, when you change how you see things, things begin to change. You have to take responsibility for your life.

Get still – As I considered all that I am dealing with and what I truly had a desire to do, I quickly came to an understanding that my life is about to change dramatically.  It’s almost like having a baby.  The closer we get to have a baby, the heavier the contractions and the baby has to breakthrough into its designed purpose.  And during a life changing stage, we have to find time to be still and listen.  Transformation is happening, and your frustration of feeling stuck is your road to freedom.

Choose wisely – Now is the time to search yourself.  As I was sitting in my office staring at my journal, I kept hearing my computer ding me that I had new emails.  It was so annoying, but it let me know that while I am here feeling stuck…..things are still moving.  Yup, imagine that….life goes on.  And why it’s important to take this time to reflect on the true purpose of your life.  Your life is not about you, it’s about what you were created to do.  This is a critical time, and I believe your stuckness is right where you need to be.  Don’t be in a rush, choose wisely your next steps.  I know you may not like what is happening to you, but imagine what can happen through you if you choose from your core.

Now move – Ask yourself what I need to do to move my life forward.  For me, I had to let go of some of my work load.  I’m too busy, and while it makes for a great pay day – I am not happy nor am I fulfilling my purpose which is worth more than the money I make.  Live your best life TODAY!  Start affirming yourself daily or find a scripture that will encourage you, but speak life to yourself.  You will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel….and then you will walk through.

Live life unstuck!

Latoyia Dennis