Happy Fathers’ Day!

I’ve been blessed to have the most amazmeanddading man to call “Dad” and I am so blessed that my daughter will be able to say the same thing about her own dad, my husband, one day. They both are the definition of ‘selfless,’ always putting their daughters first and doing everything they can to make sure they are happy, healthy, and invested in emotionally and intellectually. As an adult – and now a parent myself – I have hindsight and appreciation for all that my father did for me growing up and even now. Having him as an example meant knowing a real man when I found one and marrying beyond well.

Watching my husband interact with our daughter now, I revel in the closeness they share – the silly moments, the caring cuddles and kisses, the piggyback rides, the tickle wars, the silly inside jokes. At just three-and-a-half years old, I can already see how her closeness with her daddy will only grow and how I have (God willing) many, many years ahead to watch their relationship unfold from a front row seat. It’s humbling and beautiful and I am honored by the blessing, truly.

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Fathers hold a special place in our families and today we honor all the great ones on this great day. I know the two in my life deserve all the praise!

Happy Fathers’ Day!

Love,

El

On The Grayest of Days…

My alarm just went off reminding me to blog today, since I am just recommitting, but the timing is almost comical. Not even an hour ago, I found out that a dear friend and colleague, THE Mr. Tony Boler passed away in his sleep and right now I can hardly see through the tears.

Tony Boler was one of several amazing men of character, discipline, humor, and talent that became my family at WDKX in Rochester, NY. Just graduating and starting my first TV Reporting job at what was R News, I was asked to start filling in on the morning radio show at WDKX. Little did I know that even after a move away from Rochester, it would be WDKX that brought me back to the city. My damn colleagues had found a way to become my family without me even knowing it and Tony was the slyest of them all with that. I would walk into the station on weekend mornings (when I didn’t work, mind you) like an expectant toddler who knows her favorite uncle is right behind those doors with a triple-scoop ice cream cone just for her! Tony just oozed comfort, and fun, and support, and JOY! And THAT voice! Y’all! If you haven’t had the honor of hearing his voice on the airwaves, you have missed out and better catch some reairs, because his voice – his deep, buttery voice – would make Morgan Freeman, Isaac Hayes, and Mr. Darth Vader himself just say, “F it! I had a nice career, but Tony Boler just sunned me so I’m out.”

When my parents came to visit me in Rochester, WDKX was the first place I took them to so they could meet my new Rochester family and Tony and owner Dre in particular. I wanted to show off my ‘new uncles’ and show that I was in great hands, which, from their smiles you can see they knew it to be true.

When Kuti and I had our daughter, we hopped in the car for a what-was-supposed-to-be 6-hour road trip (it wound up being nine thanks to weather) with a 4-month old for the station’s 40th anniversary. My family grew so, of course, my Rochester peeps needed to meet her as well. Tony was right there – proud and congratulatory with a huge, proud smile.

Tony had a loving wife and amazing children he loved and thought the world of. I’m ancillary to this whole thing. His family is devastated, as are his close friends. I surely am not trying to make this about me and my grief at all, especially when, like kids in families do, I moved away and we really only relied on Facebook for updates for a long time. Still, this hurts in a very acute way, especially since that time in Rochester and WDKX in particular holds such a huge, pivotal place in my life. I would NOT be here – professionally or personally – without the people who occupied those DKX walls. Period. That’s the truth.

To make this news worse, not only does this come on my husband’s birthday (what was supposed to be the subject of today’s blog), but it comes the Monday after spending my Friday in Alabama for a quick flight in and out of Birmingham on the same day to bury my aunt Renée, my closest cousin Eboné’s mother, who died far too young as well.

You want to talk about voices? Renée’s voice was that of a quintessential Southern woman… Like the thickest of honey. Growing up, when she would say my name (“Liz” back then and while I was reporting as well, actually), it was more like, “Leeeehhzzz” and I loved it. Anyone who could make a one syllable name sound important enough to drag it out for three instead, was more than ok in my book. She doted on my cousin Eboné in the sweetest of ways and took so much pride in seeing her become the amazing mother she did. Her love of my uncle was palpable and their commitment to each other over decades was unmatched. Our family won’t be the same without her and it’s a new normal I don’t think any of us are ready for.

So… There you have it. One of the grayest of days. Death… And then more death. So how the freak do we make this a “great day?”

By living!

By speaking LIFE into people!

By crying it out and feeling the pain, but swimming through it, not drowning in it.

By taking the emotions as they come, but welcoming momentary distractions that bring in humor or unrelated observations of awe.

By sitting still and enjoying nature, the breath in our lungs.

By being a friend… Always.

Forget tomorrow: TODAY IS NOT PROMISED. This ish could all be over in a matter of moments. What have you done to change your circle and your world for the better, your ‘family’ for the stronger? If you can’t think of anything, it’s time to get to work… And it’s time to get to work now.

I’ve had a commitment in my heart for a year and a half now, one that I finally spoke into existence this weekend. The minute I did, I was filled with elation, purpose, excitement, and a weight lifted off my shoulders – and this at the BEGINNING when I should be scared and frightened and nervous about the road ahead because it’s so big. Nope. And the news today? Tony’s passing? It’s just confirmation that there is NO time to waste. He didn’t. I won’t either.

If you have something on your heart to act on, I encourage you to get over any fear, any doubt, any worry, and just act. The hardest part is starting and/or outwardly expressing your intention. You know when you have waited long enough and you know when even legitimate excuses are not strong enough to give you pause anymore.

You can be great… IF you allow yourself. I’m ready to be great and I am so thankful for the examples that the people who have passed before me have left.

R.I.P. Tony Boler

R.I.P. Aunt Renee

Love,

El

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The Present of Peace…

I came across a quote today that might be old to you, but I had yet to hear it.

“If-you-are-depressed-you-are-living-in-the-past.-If-you-are-anxious-you-are-living-in-the-future.-If-you-are-at-peace-you-are-living-in-the-present.”

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

Lao Tzu, Father of Taoism

It rings true to me by and large (with the exception of seasonal depression, which affects me and doesn’t fit into the ‘living in the past’ perspective) and it amazed me at how simple and right on it was.

We are bombarded with expectations of ourselves, both from without and within, at such an early age, it can be extremely difficult to just “be at peace” in the now. Honestly, for Type-Aers like me, it could down right feel frivolous at times. As a kid, I was taught to focus on school and get great grades so that one day I could get a great job and live a great life as an adult. It makes sense, but there wasn’t really a lot of room for the “now” in my head even then. Everything was about building up a resume toward that end goal.

I fancy myself a painter, but I refused to take art classes in high school once I figured out that languages would count as an art credit. Always the overachiever, I made up my mind to forgo something I really wanted to do and take four years of Spanish, three years of French, and two years of German all as a high school student. I loved that I was the first person in the school’s history to take all three languages offered. That was a cool little internal bragging point, but honestly, although I walked away with the basics, I know I should have just really, thoroughly learned one or two tops and taken an art class to feed a passion, not ignore it. My thought (that I know see was flawed) was that art just wasn’t ‘serious enough’ when I could do something else with that time that would make me even more attractive to colleges. There could have been a balance, but I was all or nothing.

Later, in college, although I had plenty of fun with friends when I did go out, I put self-imposed rules on myself not to really let loose too much. I would skip week day get-togethers, telling friends it was a ‘school night’ and only allow myself to go out Friday or Saturday nights (rarely both in a single weekend). Good… I guess. But in four years, not one Tuesday or Thursday night outing or happy hour just to live and be present? That’s just weird. I swear I didn’t do college right. lol!

In elementary school, I was always thinking about middle school. In middle school, high school. In high school, college. In college, work. While working, marriage. While married, motherhood. Now in motherhood, it’s a mix of it all: work, marriage, kid… and the ‘what next’ of them all. I don’t suffer from anxiety, but my goodness! With all the running thoughts we as women have, it’s amazing that we all aren’t. It would be understandable.

Thinking about the past – what went wrong, who did what to hurt me, how an experience let me down – was something I grappled with very significantly twice in my 20s. I met both bouts of depression with too much sleep and too much sugar/carbs/food in general, finally pulling myself out of them with a huge dose of self-love, healthy lifestyle changes, and exercise. It wasn’t simple to stop thinking about the past. In fact, it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The past is what makes you, after all. But once I started thinking about the singular DAY I was on, and, in many cases, just the hour, I was able to breathe, focus on the NOW, and… wait for it… ENJOY myself and appreciate the breath in my body and promise of the day ahead.

I am not saying that serious bouts of depression are as simple as just changing your perspective. For some, therapy and/or medication is a must as well. But for the majority of people who experienced depression the way I did (again, this is outside of seasonal), the shift in mindset and perspective can be the singular ‘cure’ you are looking for – IF you can push yourself out of the quicksand feeling of being stuck in a pattern of disappointment.

If you haven’t already done it today, give yourself 5 to 10 minutes RIGHT NOW with no TV, no phone, no music, …nothing and just BE with yourself, in your stillness and breathe… deeply… purposefully… s l o w l y.

Don’t let your mind wander too much or you will be thinking of nonsense or to-dos sure enough and that defeats the purpose. Breathe – focus on your breath. Close your eyes. Ignore the thoughts in your head that worry about if you fall asleep or not. So what if you do? Rest your mind. We give and give and give of ourselves every day to everyone else – our families, our friends, our employers, perfect strangers! Give yourself time to recharge. Give yourself the present of peace: NOW.

Love,

El

 

 

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Forgive Me, Followers, For I Have Sinned…

It seems I fell victim to the blogger curse. You know the one. The one where you start a blog with the best of intentions, start writing and curating at a fevered pace, only to – after months of dedication – fall off… hard.

It been roughly six months since my last post, which is just shameful. So what I have I been doing? Honestly – stressing a lot, it seems. The election sucked the soul out of me for awhile, as did story after story of police brutality and unarmed victims, not to mention wars, bombings, new-age concentration camps, and countless other evils. I’ve been weary, ya’ll! Winter was long and cold and seemed to drag out longer than I wanted it and, in my personal life, I found myself often consumed with everyone else’s problems, taking on the weight of their decisions as if they were my own when they most certainly were not. I found myself in ‘Super Savior’ mode, trying my best, but falling short only to finally accept that people have to want to change on their own and that my ‘helping’ wasn’t helping at all.

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The thought of writing something positive here some days was just too much to take on. I felt like a phony. I knew you would be able to see right through me too, so… I just stopped. That was my mistake. By not trying, I allowed the overwhelming tidal of the world’s worries to permeate my spirit more than it would have if I had just kept seeking out the positive and sharing it here. I forgot that each blog post was my – and your – armor against that in which we cannot control.

The time away from this blog wasn’t all spent in doom and gloom, I swear! I celebrated a birthday. My daughter celebrated a birthday. My husband is about to celebrate one too and his mom, my dear mother-in-law just celebrated her 70th! All blessings! My husband and I marked six years of marriage with the most perfect trip to Savannah and acted like the disgusting newlyweds we still think we are. It was fabulous! My frenchie, Lombardi, made it through a health scare and is back to his loving self and I am in pre-production on some new hosting/video ventures with a great team that is equally as passionate about the project. I started a plant-based diet that is doing wonders for my nutritional needs and fitness goals and my husband – personal trainer extraordinaire Kuti Mack of BYBD Fitness & Nutrition – has put me on a workout plan I am actually sticking to for once (even though I hate weights!).

LIFE IS GOOD!i-amp-039-m-back-sorry-i-kind-of-stopped_o_2294831

We all get tired.

We all feel drained.

It’s not realistic to think that every day is going to be filled with pure happiness from sun up to sundown, even if that is the hope. Still, like the tag line of this blog says, “Every Day Can Be Great,” and that’s the truth. Every day has the ABILITY to be great, but it takes us to ACTUALIZE that potential.

I’m still learning; I’m still growing; I’m still figuring it all out.

I thank you all who are reading this and welcoming me back (and those of you who nagged me in the interim to return), and sincerely apologize to any of you whom I just ‘left hanging.’ I can’t say that I will never go through a spell where I need a break from writing every day again, but I promise to at least give you the heads up next time should it ever occur again. Deal? Deal!

I appreciate you all more than you could ever, ever know. You are something SPECIAL!

Love,

El