Holiday Joy

There’s a benefit in helping others!

Recently a mom in one of my FB groups talked about how upset she was that she couldn’t get photos of her infant daughter this Christmas because she was low on funds. The pics cost $20.

Now, to many people, Christmas pics may not be a big deal. But to her, they were very important. See, last year her first child, at the age of 3 months, was killed in a car accident. He was never able to celebrate Christmas. So, this would be a new milestone for her baby daughter to achieve.

I didn’t want her to miss capturing these moments so I asked for her address and sent her a $20 bill. She was very gracious.

Have you heard when you give, it can come back to you? Well, last weekend Team Turner went to a UNC football game. We got there late and caught a late shuttle to the stadium. We were supposed to have bought a wristband to board, but the person handing out bands had left. The driver told us to go on and get onboard, but we’d still have to a pay the money when we board after the game. Well, it was a blowout, so we left at halftime. The driver once again asked for our bands. I told our story and pulled out my wallet. She said don’t worry about it!

I feel that we were blessed for helping others. And the biggest blessing came yesterday when the mom shared with me her gorgeous Santa photos. My heart melted!

There's a benefit in helping others!</p>
<p>Recently a mom in one of my FB groups talked about how upset she was that she couldn’t get photos of her infant daughter this Christmas because she was low on funds. The pics cost $20.</p>
<p>Now, to many people, Christmas pics may not be a big deal. But to her, they were very important. See, last year her first child, at the age of 3 months, was killed in a car accident. He was never able to celebrate Christmas. So, this would be a new milestone for her baby daughter to achieve.</p>
<p>I didn’t want her to miss capturing these moments so I asked for her address and sent her a $20 bill. She was very gracious.</p>
<p>Have you heard when you give, it can come back to you? Well, last weekend Team Turner went to a UNC football game. We got there late and caught a late shuttle to the stadium. We were supposed to have bought a wristband to board, but the person handing out bands had left. The driver told us to go on and get onboard, but we’d still have to a pay the money when we board after the game. Well, it was a blowout, so we left at halftime. The driver once again asked for our bands. I told our story and pulled out my wallet. She said don’t worry about it! </p>
<p>I feel that we were blessed for helping others. And the biggest blessing came yesterday when the mom shared with me her gorgeous Santa photos. My heart melted!” width=”263″ height=”394″ /></p></div>
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Small Talk

Today I tried to make a difference.

Although I can’t change society as a whole, I can take small steps. With social media, very few people have in person conversations. How can we start to understand people if we don’t take time to communicate?

This morning Liliana and I went to Target. In addition to buying half of the store, we stopped and had conversations with complete strangers.

*We talked with a mother of a two-year-old boy about how easy Christmas is for kids this young. Her son got restless and I instantly thought of Maximus.

*We talked with a man about how hard it is to ‘drive’ those Target carts through those narrow aisles.

*We met a mother of a five-month-old. We stood trying to decode the Target discount that made no sense and talked about the ‘mom uniform’ of leggings and a sweater.

*We talked with the woman who checked us out. She unfortunately has to work Thanksgiving evening and turn around to return to work Friday morning.

*We talked with a couple in the parking lot who loved Liliana’s hat and volunteered to take our cart back.

These people were of all races and ages. We didn’t target any of them to communication with. But, as our paths crossed, a welcoming conversation ensued. We have to start getting to know each other and realize how many commonalities we each have.

These conversations may have not been life changing, but it definitely made my shopping experience more enjoyable and we both left with a smile.

As you’re out and about these holidays, take time and say hello to the person next to you. Wish the people behind the register a happy holiday season. Help someone in need. One small gesture on your behalf could be a hidden blessing in the life of someone else.

America Lost Last Night

America lost last night.

I have never seen so many racist and rude comments about the actual situation and personal attacks on those who disagree with each other as I did on social media yesterday and today.

In my opinion, there is a terrifying circle of violence occurring and I’m not sure how to make it cease. Unfortunately in today’s society, it seems that if someone is in a confrontational situation with a black male, it is considered acceptable not only to harm him, but to kill him. Even if he isn’t armed. Even if he didn’t initiate it. To me that’s terrifying. I look at my husband and son and pray they are never in that type of situation. I pray that people will erase their fear and instead see potential and passion in the hearts of these boys and men.

It’s equally terrifying that we have a society of people who feel very unvalued, oppressed and unheard. While their actions of looting are not excusable, it’s apparent they are calling out for help and change and unsure of how to do it. As horrific and embarrassing as their actions are, as threatening as they may seem, they are not going out killing people. They do not deserve to be killed. How do we help them feel valued as citizens with equal rights, protection and opportunity as others?

Anyone who says that racism does not exist in the “United” States of America, needs to wake up. It’s here and there’s no current working solution to help it improve. Hate is clear and present. I am truly blessed to have a diverse group of friends throughout the nation, but we ALL have a long way to go. Is it possible for us to heal – together?

Ignore My…..

I met a nblack Xew mom friend recently.  She has the most precious kids.  I met her at a time where, aside from family, I didn’t really feel as if I had any true friends here.  And there she was.  We clicked instantly.

In the weeks since I’ve met her, we talk regularly. Little did I know that as much as I was looking for a friend, she was looking for the same.  We’ve been to lunch together (without kids) and our kids have had play dates.

Today I saw her and she said, “Ignore the hair on my face. I’m getting laser surgery and can’t shave it until then.” I could tell she felt embarrassed.  Little did she know, I had never noticed it.  Even when she pointed it out, I still didn’t notice it.

How often do we think we have character ‘flaws’ that others can see?  We often think we have this big X on our chest and the entire world notices.  Sometimes it’s something visible like a new gray hair.   Other times we think everyone knows our “news”.

“That stranger on the street looked at me funny, he must know I had an argument with my husband.”

“My child’s teacher smiled at me funny. She must know I ate an entire carton of ice cream last night.”

“I wore these same jeans yesterday. I’m pretty sure my boss just did a second look as I walked by.”

When we are in these predicaments, we usually tell on ourselves without realizing the other person really didn’t notice.  “Last night was so stressful, the kids were acting crazy, I burned dinner and we ran out of toothpaste.  I was so stressed, I ate the entire carton of butter pecan ice cream since we were out of wine!”

Yikes!

Yeah, that yikes face is usually the look the other person gives you at the end of your over sharing.

We need to quit being so hard on ourselves and instead realize that the self doubts and confessions that we have are usually seen by only one person.  You. There’s often too much happening in the world to each of us, that we don’t have time to judge others.  I know for me, I take pride in the fact that I put two black matching socks on each morning. That’s success.

So, the next time you think your life is a hot mess and everyone around you is talking behind your back – STOP.  BREATHE. CHILL OUT.

Life is crazy.  Motherhood is insane.  Marriage can be a trial.

And everyone can relate! We’re in this game of life together

Oh No He Didn’t!

I knew it would happen.

I just didn’t know when.

I just didn’t know how.

I took two years and four months.

That’s right! Maximus finally climbed out of the bed.

At first I thought he was scared of climbing out and it would never happen.  The first couple of times he tried, he’d climb on the top edge and just sit there. I think he got nervous, so he’d climb back down the rail into his bed and go back to sleep.

After several days of building up his upper body strength, I think he did some research on my phone.  That has to be the way he came up with his genius idea. Because no longer was he afraid to climb over the crib rail.  Now, he found a way to climb onto the changing table that sat connected.

Imagine to my surprise walking into his room to see him sitting, and smiling, upon the changing table.  That little rascal!  He thought he was the smartest thing ever.  And I guess for that brief minute he was. I immediately gave him the speech about how he could get hurt, he needed to stay in his crib….. I’m sure in his world, all he heard was, “blah, blah, blah, blah, blah….”

I immediately called my husband to tell him about our son’s latest feat.  Hubby said that it’s finally time for the big boy bed.  I’ve been dreading this big boy bed because I feel he will no longer be contained.  Gone will be the days where I know no wrong doing can happen late at night in his bed.  I wasn’t ready just yet.  I needed more time.

Fast forward ahead about a week later.  I laid Maximus down for his nap.  As usual, I walk out of his room, close the door, walk right across the hall to my bedroom and close my bedroom door.  But this time was different.  Before I could walk seven steps to our recliner, I heard a door in the hallway open.  It was an unfamiliar sound.  I wondered if my husband had come home early from work.

I open my bedroom door, and standing there before me is Mr. Maximus with the widest smile in the world.  Not only had he climbed out of bed.  But he safely landed and was so excited to boast about it that he opened in door and started walking toward mine.

Needless to say, the big boy bed will be installed A.S.A.P.!!!!

From Sweats to Heels

When it comes to the looks department, I’ve always thought I was pretty average. Not drop dead gorgeous and not a troll.  I’ve never been one to wear a lot of makeup or a lot of jewelry.  Simple Simonita should be my name.  My clothing of choice – a matching sweatsuit outfit. Comfortable and easy.

Natural1

This is a photo of me with my natural hair freshly washed and no makeup on. (In other words, this is the me my husband sleeps next to every night)

Plus, since I’m in the fitness industry and am a work-from-home mother, sweats are my uniform.  My hair pulled back is my signature style. Easy, peasy, normal – Covergirl! Do I like to get dressed up every once in a while? Sure.  Do I like wearing dresses? Yes. But do I also play on the fact that I look young for my age (37), have a toddler and don’t care what others think ? You betcha!

This is that same hair straightened at home (but not styled). My expression looks like I just changed my son's diaper!

This is that same hair straightened at home (but not styled). My expression looks like I just changed my son’s diaper!

But, all of that changed last month when I traded in my sweats for a pair of black thigh high boots.  I had trained for nine weeks for a fitness competition and wanted to take some photos to capture being in the best shape I’d been in as a mother. I actually dragged my feet scheduling the photo shoot because I just didn’t ‘feel it’.  The competition was over and I was enjoying food. I wanted to do the shoot, then I didn’t. I was tired. I almost canceled, but I didn’t. And I’m glad I went.

Long story short – when the photographer, Shanna Simpson, posted my photos on her Facebook page, I was speechless.  I couldn’t believe the person in the photos were me.  I couldn’t believe that my basic makeup (courtesy of Kroger and Walgreens) would turn me into someone worthy of an album cover.

MYT Shana

**Side note: If you’ve never purchased grocery store makeup, give it a chance.  The back of the eye shadow packages are numbered and tell you exactly how to apply it. Genius!

**Side note #2: If you’re having a bad hair day, or just want different hair – live on the edge and buy a wig.  My photo shoot wig’s name was Estelle.  She was delivered in a manilla envelope and lives in a plastic bag.  But honey, when she sits upon my head – we WORK. IT. OUT!

My pics helped me realize that many of the celebrities that we idolize are probably pretty simple/basic people.  I believe if you took away their makeup artists, hair stylists and wardrobists (is that even a word?) s/he would blend in with society like the rest of us. Although they are probably naturally pretty, I’m sure plenty of assistance goes into making them stunning.

I also believe all of us have a fire kitten hidden (meow!) inside of us. TRUST ME – I don’t know where the foxy mamacita came from once I put on those black boots, but I know she exists somewhere inside me.  Deep, deep down.

IMG_0817-2944681264-O

So, the next time you’re flipping through magazines saying to yourself how you wish you looked like (fill in the blank), put forth the effort and see if you can.  Bathe your body, throw on some deodorant, find two pair of socks that match, brush your hair (wash it first), buy some new makeup (search for coupons first), throw on some cute clothes (search your kids closet if you don’t have any) and know that sexy lives in us all!