Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Big Dash of This, A Little Dash of That

The Job
It's been another hectic week. Well maybe hectic isn't the best word. I've just been buried at work and trying to get a project done that was first conceived about 4 years ago when I started the job and got serious about a year ago when we finally got the graphic treatment going for it. It's a time line and it starts back to CBE times. Thinks it's easy? Nope. Not when you're trying to get as accurate information as possible and pictures too. And remember we're talking CBE times all the way to the present. Oh and after you've finally knuckled down and gathered all that info, it has to be typed up in a format for the graphic artist. And when that's done you have to read it all, word for word, date for date looking for editorial mistakes. You try to cover about 2,000 years and see if you don't miss a comma or two. So when that's done, you get other eyes on it and they find all kinds of things and ask all kinds of questions. Again, we're trying to make this the best time line out there. There are a lot out there but they are really repetitive and it's clear most people are taking from each other. We were no exception, but the other time lines were just a starting point. I went to the library to add to it. Got intern help to study some things and work in more complete thoughts. And now our new editorial assistant is helping me to find answers to the plethora of questions that rose during the last round of proofing. I am literally 1 unanswered question, 1 addition of a link, 1 addition of a photo, and 2 unanswered questions of my own away from completing this thing and doing the proof that will find all the books titles that need formatting and all the weird character codings or lack of punctuation. That won't be quick either but at least the study of history will be over for now - at least until the public gets a hold of it and starts sending us emails about what they think is wrong or missing. When you work for a company that has a membership base, it's hard not to get a little resentful sometimes at people's comments about how we do things. We think the public must see us as some mighty corporate machine. But if they only knew all the little gerbils on the wheels keeping that mighty thing going. We do A LOT and we care A LOT too but I think only those of us behind the scenes know that. Oh well. I still love my job.

The Book

I have been one page and one more bio away from finishing this proposal. Every day I hope to get it done and every day I'm too tired from work to do it. I come home and do some things for Village Works - not as much as I need to though - and check a zillion emails because of the various groups I am in, trying to quickly delete the unnecessary stuff and the stuff I can always see some other time. I am seriously considering adding an auto message to let folk know I get their email. They just need to give me a moment to respond. I WILL finish the proposal. Maybe today? Well, today I have a meeting to go to with a potential customer. Then a workshop with one of my networking groups. I WILL get it done. Maybe tomorrow?

The Inauguration

I still haven't posted my thoughts about that and I do have a few. The post is started. I'll get it done. But in the meanwhile, I do want to tell you I bought the photo book "Yes We Can" by Scout Tufankjian. Knowing that this photojournalist followed Barack Obama for nearly two years before she knew how great he would be makes this book all the more dynamic. The faces. The tears. I was moved by the election. So-so about the inauguration. This book gave me another perspective and it was powerful. I got it for about $17 on Amazon. It's worth adding this to your cache of Obama memorabilia.

The Son

It's about report card time around here. Son's teacher sent home a sheet that would allow us to sign up for a time to meet but she checked off the box that said there were no issues with Son and she didn't need to see us. Cool. Until we got the actual progress report:

Writing - Should work on elaboration and stronger endings. Focus on developing heart of story.
Science - Good test score. Project not on topic.
Penmanship - Work on connections.
Other - Appears to be uncertain when given direction for assignments or on instruction.

In order to improve he needs to revise and edit work; improve the quality of work; listen attentively; and follow directions.

Was I supposed to NOT be concerned about this? Son had reasons why he didn't understand some things. They each get 1 on 1 time with a teacher who focuses on reading. So he misses class. The project? I must have missed something too when he did it. I know I am always frustrated at home by how much Son doesn't seem to get when he's doing homework and how much work it is to pull things out of him that I know he knows or he would know if he just stopped to think for a minute. Seems she was having that same issue at school. So it's not me being too demanding. Good.

I know what I am always telling Son. She needed to hear his thoughts and we needed to be sure she and I were in agreement about her expectations. We needed to meet. Mr. T and I agreed he was on his DS way too much and it was messing up his ability to concentrate and his teacher said she noticed that as well in this generation of kids. Of course Son didn't agree with any of that but his time got drastically cut during the school nights anyway. He asked for Brain Age and had the money for it so I bought it and he's on that DS playing now. We're going to re-do that project, even if he gets no credit. He asked to be in Little League and I signed him up because he insisted he wanted to do and I can't pass up a chance to get him outside running around of his own free will. I added some extra handwriting work after he's done with his homework and the school has a study website to help them get ready for the testing that's coming up for them soon. He'll be OK.

Well, I can say more but I won't right now. Time to get dressed and ready to go. I have 3 more posts to work on and you can all expect to see those soon. Otherwise this thing would get crazy long, longer than even I do and you know I write tomes on here.

But before you go:
Have you voted for us today in the Start Up Nation Leading Moms in Business 2009 Competition? Check it out here. We'd REALLY appreciate it if you vote and you can do it every day until March 31, 2009 PT. There's even a new meter there now to show you how hot we are! Go ahead. Vote! We wanna be hot, hot, hot! Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do You Need to Stick It Out?

Every now and again, I like to share with you the words of one of my favorite life coaches, Valerie Burton. This one is about perseverance and I love it because it confirms for me that sticking with my business makes sense. It also reconfirms that as annoying as marriage can be sometimes, I do have the ability to revel in the things I love about my husband and leave the stupid stuff to God to work out.

So in the words of Valerie:

One of the greatest lessons I've learned is the power of perseverance. And it's the message I'd like to share with you this week.

"In the confrontation between the river and the rock, the river always wins," says a quote I recently read. "Not through strength but through perseverance."

Achieving your vision may not happen in the time frame you'd prefer, but if you prayerfully plan your work and work your plan, you will triumph. Like the rushing water that wears down the rock over time, perseverance is your key to success. Perseverance is a manifestation of faith, and "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen." Perseverance is fueled by your faith and belief that your vision will eventually come to pass.

January is a time when I receive more questions than usual about how to make changes in one's life. "Why are most people unable to make lasting changes?," a reporter asked me recently. I think it is because most people expect quick results, and when they don't see them, they give up. It is easy for us to give up when we are not clear and specific about the vision, and do not have a compelling reason for achieving it. For example, let's say your goal is to "lose weight," and your reason is so that you can fit into the jeans you wore in college. The goal is unspecific and the reason simply may not be compelling enough. What might be more compelling? You might say instead, "I want to lose 25 pounds over the next six months so that I no longer feel self-conscious about how I look, which keeps me from being confident in my everyday interactions." Perhaps your vision is to take your business or career to the next level and double or triple your income. It's an exciting goal, but without a compelling purpose, even money will not give you the fuel to persevere to the finish line. To persevere, you need to be driven by a purpose and the values that matter most to you. For example, you might say, "I want to double or triple my income so that I can accumulate money that will lead to financial freedom. With financial freedom, I'll have the flexibility to spend more time with the people who matter most to me, and experience things I've dreamed of my entire life." A compelling purpose will give you the energy to persevere in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

In what area of your life do you need to make a decision to persevere? Perhaps it is in your marriage or with a child who is testing your limits. Perhaps you need to persevere as you pay off the debt that feels like it will never be eliminated. Maybe it is an area of your work, health or spiritual life. If you really want to reach your vision, you can. Trust God, keep making progress, and be patient. Your success will come.

When you feel discouraged, remember these three principles for achieving lasting change:

You must know where you are going. "Write the vision and make it plain ..." Habakkuk 2:2 advises. Be specific about what you want. Pray about it, then meditate and listen for direction about your vision in your spirit. Always follow your intuition. It is a divine compass - a gift from God to help you clarify your decisions.


It is essential to have pure motives for achieving your vision. Know why you want what you want - and be sure that the purpose is aligned with what truly matters to you. Don't spend your life trying to achieve a vision that is not completely your own. Meeting everyone else's expectations without meeting your own will drain your energy, leaving you empty. You need energy to persevere and energy is derived from passion and purpose. If you're not passionate and purposeful, you need to adjust your vision so that it is aligned with your passion and purpose in life.

Lastly, and most importantly, keep moving forward! "Never, never, never give up," Winston Churchill famously said in a 1941 speech. Sounds simple, but it works. If you stick with it long enough, the vision will come to fruition. You will make mistakes along the way, so learn from them. You will not do it perfectly, so give yourself permission to be human. But when you leave yourself with no other option but success, you will likely achieve it. Giving birth can be painful, but as mothers everywhere will attest, the temporary pain is worth the precious gift. Giving birth to your vision is the same way.

Whatever you are attempting to create in your life right now, plan your work, then work your plan until you get what you are expecting.

I have found that the greatest benefit of persevering is the person you become in the process. You learn lessons you would not otherwise have learned. You develop higher levels of faith and discipline. And you experience a higher level of satisfaction when you finally accomplish the vision. The process of perseverance isn't always pleasant, but it is often necessary to fulfill your potential and enjoy the richest rewards life has to offer.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Keeping Up With Obama

I've got another post going about this inauguration stuff but I'm not done with it yet. First, I don't know about you, but I will be following our new president with great interest. Agree with him or not, I believe, thus far, that he is going to do the very best he thinks he should do. So I'll give that a try and wait to see how things work out.

If you want to follow him too, here are some options!

1 - Did you know he's on Twitter? Of course he may not be tweeting himself anymore - maybe he never was - but if you are on Twitter and want to follow, he is here:

2 - Just saw there was a radio address from him and plans for a weekly one. Here's the first: FYI, there's a blog there too.

3 - Need all Obama, all the time? Well, others do too. This is one thing I found out there from

Do you need Obama coverage 24 hours a day? In several markets, Comcast cable is launching an all-Obama, On Demand channel. (In D.C., it's channel 963).
My guess is your local cable/satellite might have something like that too.

4 - Want to have your say in what Obama should focus on in the White House? is where you can find the minutes from meetings Obama had during the transition and now you can voice your opinion about what he should do next.

There's more. I'll find it. Don't you worry. It's just a little something to get you started. Enjoy!

Have you voted for us today in the Start Up Nation Leading Moms in Business 2009 Competition? Check it out here. We'd REALLY appreciate it if you vote and you can do it every day until March 31, 2009 PT. There's even a new meter there now to show you how hot we are! Go ahead. Vote! We wanna be hot, hot, hot! Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

From the Shirts of Babes

My nephew says it all:

Happy Inauguration Day!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Change of Plans & A Few Words from Susan Taylor

It's a major weekend this weekend. A turn in the road kind of day, today. Today there was a brunch in Philadelphia celebrating 20 years since I graduated from high school. My friends from the Philadelphia High School for Girls, b.k.a Girls' High, are coming out of the woodwork on Facebook and it's great seeing them virtually if not in person right now. They look great and since I was always the youngest in any class I was in (December babies usually are), we're talking about 38- and 39-year-old women here. I'm sure there was some talk about being so close to 40. I'm betting the cliques bonded again but that no one really felt left out since we were all in a more mature place in life. I wish I could have been there. But the plan was to be in D.C. for the next 3 days. The plans changed.

Instead, my friend and I mulled over the idea of being in potentially bone-chilling cold for hours before and during the event. We found out that food was not allowed to be brought in. Cameras can be but not camera bags. They are opening the Mall in anticiption of the crowds and if you've never been there, let's just say you do not want to be in the middle of there surrounded by hoards of people pressing around you and THEN need to go to the bathroom. Thankfully, my bladder knows how to behave and if I drink nothing in the morning, I'm cool for hours.

Then the questions became just how much would we be able to see? How long would the lines be in all the places we'd need to go or want to go? There was also my friend's father saying, "I wish you'd reconsider." He was worried about her safety. Neither she nor I are easily scared so that wouldn't have stopped us if this whole thing took place in, say, June. But the rest were factors we heavily weighed and when she hesitated the first time, I told her, it's OK. I don't mind NOT spending money. So she canceled the room. We're home to enjoy the whole thing from the best seat in the house - our homes.

But this is not only the week of President-Elect Obama's inauguration. Tomorrow is also the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. I have NEVER been off for the holiday because no place I ever worked closes for that day. But I had taken off these 3 days to go to D.C. and decided to stay home Monday and Tuesday at least to take it all in without the disruption of the job. There is a program at my church tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. in celebration of Dr. King. It is sponsored by a local group and held at our church every year since our church is one of the largest here. The kids from Son's summer literacy program will recite the pledge they learned from the program, which means Son and I need be there. The keynote speaker is Susan L. Taylor, editor emerita of Essence magazine.

Earlier today, Bizzy Girl called me to tell me she got a free ticket to the meet and greet with Ms. Taylor that was taking place this evening. Could I go? Mr. T was out getting groceries but if he got home in time, heck yeah!

Why does Suan Taylor matter?
Susan Taylor's magazine is as old as I am so I grew up under the influence of this publication. I dared to dream about being a writer and even having my own magazine because of this woman's work. When people told me in college that I'd have to wear my hair straight for job interviews, I thought about Ms. Taylor and her ever present cornrows and I told them all, it's me as I am or it's nothing. After all, those people weren't going to be the ones doing my hair. (Yes, I've worn braids at every job I've had thus far.) One of my summer jobs in college was working as a cashier at a drug store in my neighborhood. When I was talking with some of the other employees about our dreams and goals, I mentioned wanting to write for Essence one day, or just being able to work there doing anything would be a great start, though I never relished the thought of being in New York. The white assistant manager of the drug store, Jerry Rice (yes, his real name. I don't care if I out him.) chuckled. "Essence? What's that?" I rolled my eyes at his naivete. Since he hadn't heard of the magazine it must not have been too big a deal right? Wrong, little man. Oh, how narrow your world must have been. It was a simple, dismissive statement, but thanks to him, I became even more resolute to do what I wanted to do.

So when I got the chance to meet Susan Taylor, I had to take it. Bizzy Girl and our other partner in the traditional greeting cards were going. We were going to give her one of our puzzles too. You never know where opportunity will strike so why not?

Ms. Taylor got up to speak and it was hard to catch everything she said. We did hear loud and clear that she was 62, turning 63 this week. You'd never guess it. She glowed.

I wanted to take it all in. The room was small and intimate and she had a mic but despite that, she spoke a little fast, not always clearly and we only caught snippets of what she said, but we got the whole message loud and clear. At this time of change in our country, here are some of the things she said:

  • "(Barack Obama) cannot save us. No one president can."

  • "Take care of you first."

  • "We have to embrace our own joy."

  • "Your responsibility is to you."

  • "It's a new day. Attend to your joy."

  • "We can get this right. It starts with us taking care of ourselves."

  • "Do what you have to do to keep moving forward."

  • "Hurt people hurt people." (Jerry Rice was most likely a hurt person.)

  • Afterward, we purchased her latest book and she signed them for each of us. "We have something for you," Bizzy Girl told her amidst all the chatter around us. "What's in that envelope she gave you," I pointed out, "we created it. That is what we do in our business." Ms. Taylor gave us an impressed look and hugged us for a picture. We waited until she was done hoping to get our own picture with her but she had already gone by the time we got back to her table. But it's OK. Bizzy Girl will see her tomorrow when she arrives at the church to speak. She'll have a private moment, more than likely and that's when she will see if she can mention us to her again.
    We noticed before Ms. Taylor left that she'd only gotten a few things from the people in attendance so maybe the chance was high that she'd open the puzzle tonight. We had written messages to her on the back of the puzzle. One of them encouraged her to email us if she enjoyed the puzzles.

    Wouldn't it be great if she did? If she does email a positive reaction, I will ask her if I can use it as a testimonial and add it into our marketing materials. Wouldn't it be great if she wanted some for herself and gave them out to her influential friends, including Oprah who decided it was one of her favorite things this year? Wouldn't it be great? This is the year of reaping, my friends. You just never know.

    Know what else would also be great? If you voted for us in Start Up Nation Leading Moms in Business 2009 Competition. Check it out here. We'd REALLY appreciate it if you vote and you can do it every day until March 31, 2009 PT. Thanks for your support!

    Friday, January 16, 2009

    That's It. We NEED Help.

    I'm sick of this. There is so much we need to do for our business and so much we want to do too. There are people to respond to and people to reconnect with and opportunities to look into as well as create. There are doors still cracked for us and I want to walk through!

    We have been on that precipice far too long. Just because Bizzy Girl and I are full-time workers and mothers, does not mean we can't do this but we need help and we know it. We've always known it but help = time and time = money and money is something we can't dish out right now.

    Although. Maybe.

    If we think really hard.

    And maybe if we get money back from taxes again. (I love having an accountant.)

    There is ONE person we know who can do some of the job I am creating in my head. Not all of it, though. I'd like it all in one person. But still maybe we could come up with a figure and we would be somebody's project for the year and we'd pay a project fee.


    Village Works is all about the village concept and it's necessary to call on other people sometimes, you know?

    Well, this was just one part venting post and one part me writing things down in order to make it a reality.

    So who is my dream personal assistant? Why let me tell you!

    He or she is:

    • local, first and foremost. I want to look in their eyes regularly.
    • creative
    • administrative
    • professional
    • eloquent in written and spoken word
    • a good representative of us
    • has clear understanding of what we do and want to do and who we are - the vision
    • trustworthy
    • organized
    • fast
    • independent
    • either willing to work for experience/commission to start or sooooo affordable for us right now
    • able to work just 1 hour per week for us at the very least. We don't have to be your all. We could be just one of the projects you work on.
    • willing to sign a non-disclosure
    This list is just the start. I may add to it but finding someone who has all this is my goal. Nope, not my dream. Forget that word for this. This has now become a goal.

    NOTE: FYI. Have you voted for us yet? Check this out. We'd REALLY appreciate it if you do and you can do it every day until March 31, 2009 PT.

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    Support Village Works Enterprises LLC in the 2008 StartupNation Home-Based Business Competition

    This is a contest we are in right now and voting is open through March. You can vote as much as you like but only once a day so if you're up for it, vote like crazy.

    Now, we don't win anything tangible but it will give us bragging rights - though we aren't braggarts - and it will give us some publicity at the hands of some major players and that is worth it all.

    My original thought was to keep this at the top of the blog, then I decided new people would see it, come back, and then maybe not realize I've stuck this here for now and think I haven't updated. So I'll just make sure each post from now until then links you back to this one! :-)

    We thank you for your support!

    Support Village Works Enterprises LLC in the 2008 StartupNation Home-Based Business Competition

    Posted using ShareThis

    Monday, January 05, 2009

    Dream Weaving

    I love dreams. Not just the life-planning ones but the ones your mind entertains you with if you are lucky enough to fall into deep slumber. I don't really dream a lot so when I do, I pay attention to it because I believe they are always meaningful to you or someone if you take the time to work our their meaning. When someone else dreams about me, I take notice of of that too. My mind, as crazy as it is when I am awake, has been asleep on the job when it comes to dreaming but a friend recently emailed me a dream she had about me. (The one and only name in this has been changed because that's what I do here.):

    Walking to wherever, I spotted you sitting and planting a small garden overflowing with colorful flowers under a big tree. We walked out to meet and greet each other and you showed me how Mr. T was planting grass (already very green and thick) in the yard. He was about to start paving the street, which had a big dip and breaks in the asphalt. He had his permits and equipment and was ready to start(and finish that day, apparently). You then gave me some light fixtures to donate to ??? -- and that was that.
    I've been telling my prediction for 2009 and I may not have stated it clearly here yet but basically, 2009 is a year of reaping what we have sown. Could be good or otherwise but I think it's all working together for good if we let it. 2008 was a year of new beginnings/major changes and if nothing else, you've got to admit a black president is a whole new beginning/major change.

    So if my friend's dream is meant for me, and I think it is, then I see some real reaping going on and I'm glad for it. I looked up the meaning of pavement and it has to do with setting goals. I laughed at reading this because my husband, at least when it comes to money, is a real planner. When he knows what he wants to do, he will make a detailed plan, although he sucks at sharing that plan. He likes to keep it close to the vest until time for action. But this dream has us all working together, as we should, and it just feels good to read that.

    Now if this dream is meant for my friend, and I think it still is, then the message is to take this light of hope and blessings and pass it on. I know last year ended bleakly for many. We found out that the equity in our house was practically zapped. And I know this year is starting on the same bleak note but I for one can't help but feel good about last year - new president; new nephew; new and well-received products for our business. I guess because 8 is my favorite number, I don't see last year in a bad light at all. And this year just feels like all the things we've ever worked for will finally grow in a major way.

    I've never experienced a job loss so I know I am speaking from a place of wishful thinking, but the opportunity for people to move into areas of passion to them is tremendous and I hope many people take advantage of that because I am POSITIVE God wants that for all of us. There is peace is pursuing the thing God created you to do and what is that, you ask? What do you love? What moves you? What gives you joy when you do it? Look there.

    I know we live in a time of war, but the worldwide response to our new president should gives us all a sense of encouragement that we all want the same thing - peace and prosperity for all.

    I know it seems like things fall apart, but for me, it helps push me toward my God and keeps my faith intact, and when the clouds are gathering and the storm is threatening, I can still thank God for growth that will come afterward.

    No matter what your faith is, surely there are ways you keep yourself in a positive frame of mind. So tell me. Are you living the dream? Still dreaming? In a nightmare? Had a good, real dream that came true? The world wants to know!