Inspiration

Starting the Day Inspired and Focused, How I Do It

Mom morning routine for me timeThis morning I woke up an hour before my alarm clock. Normally this means I put in ear plugs to get my last hour of sleep. Because an hour of sleep is like gold.

I tried, but after 20 minutes of wrestling with sleep, I gave up and started my morning routine instead.

This was THE BEST thing ever and exactly what I needed.

The lesson? Going with the flow and listening to the signs of life will oftentimes give us exactly what we need… and truly want, even if we don’t know it at the time.

Here is the “me time” morning routine I used this morning. It’s also the routine I use on weekends. 

Morning meditation. I have favorites, and this morning meditation by Louise Hay is at the top of my list. It’s 25 minutes and totally worth every minute.

Next, I read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra for about 10 minutes. I am rereading this book, and each time I get something new from it. Other books I love to read during this time is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Next up was prayer, followed by reading my bible for 5 minutes. 

Overall, it was about an hour with no interruptions or other tasks vying for my time. When the girls woke up I was more than ready for my day to begin. I was refreshed, inspired and blissful.

Now that I’ve shared how I spent my extra time this morning, here is my typical weekday morning.

My “me time” morning routine, the short version.

Morning meditation. 10 minutes of either Louise Hay’s morning meditation or breathing meditation. I also LOVE the guided meditations offered through the Chopra Center. These are the meditations that Oprah and Deepak offer from time to time free, :-).

Prayer and bible time.

5 minutes of another inspiring read (see books listed above).

This is about 20-25 minutes and it truly makes a difference in my day. Whenever I try to skip this time my day suffers, so I try not to skip it, :-).

 

I’d love to know if you have a morning routine to help you get centered for the day. Whether it’s a quick prayer in the shower or your morning run, please share!

Here’s to you enjoying your day,

Towanda

This Summer is Different

Man’s plans and God’s plans.

The last few weeks have been a reminder that no matter how we think something will turn out, there are no guarantees.

On May 31st, my auntie gained her wings. She had been battling cancer and we were cautiously optimistic for her recovery… then she had a heart attack.

On one side there’s peace in knowing she didn’t suffer long, that I was able to spend time with her and have fabulous memories. But, another side is part of what makes this difficult.

Along with hoping for healing, I purposely didn’t plan any summer vacations because I had intentions of spending long weekends with her. To help care for her through treatments. To just be with her. To hope and pray that she beat this HORRIBLE disease.

But, God’s plans were different. The summer I planned was not to be.

As I (and my family) grieve, I am comforted by many things. But, the thing I want to share here is this.

Love people while they are here. I know this sounds like a cliché, but I am telling you, a main reason I am okay is because I know she knew how much I loved her.

Make time for family and friends.

Make memories! The picture above of us in Central Park will forever be one of my favorites. I had no idea it would be our last time hanging out in the park. But I knew then as I know now, a loving family is priceless and not to be taken for granted.

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Super Soul Sunday Takes TV Tabernacle to Another Level

supersoulsundaythankstooprahDear Oprah,

As a bona fide member of TV Tabernacle I must thank you for SuperSoul Sunday.

Yesterday I was only going to watch the 11 a.m. show with Rob and Kristen Bell, but next up was Brene Brown! When you introduced me to her a few years ago, I raved for weeks about her to anyone that would listen.

I can’t tell you how much I love her research, findings and how she shares these things. Now I must watch the reruns every time they are on.
Then Marianne Williamson?! Yes and yes.

Since SuperSoul Sunday has come into my life, my spiritual journey has not been the same. In addition to my favorite pastors, my soul is now fed by people I may have never known otherwise. I love that you share a variety of experiences and perspectives on spirituality. I love the “aha moments” and tweetable quotes.

Again, thank you for using your platform for this. I am so blessed by the conversations and thoughts.

Sincerely,
Towanda

Remembering to be Kind, Compassionate and Forgiving

KindnessCompassion

Yogi’s green chai tea with almond cashew milk

 

For my spiritual time this morning I randomly opened my bible to Ephesians 4. It talks about living as children of light, and one verse stood out to me…

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

After reading this I smiled, took it as my goal for the day and went on with the rest of my morning routine. About an hour later as I was driving to work, a car cut in front of me, barely missing my bumper. Before I realized it, my compassion and kindness had taken a backseat to anger.

Well, so much for goals. I took a deep breath, actually a few deep breaths, and decided to start over.

Later in the morning I prepared a cup of tea, and look at the message on the tag! It totally reiterated my goal.

I love when these types of “coincidences” happen. It reminds me that it is not a coincidence at all; it is God speaking to me, :-).

20 Healthy Food Donations for Your Community Bank

BestHealthyFoodBankDonationsDonating healthy food to your community food pantry is a great idea. It is especially important over the summer months when children that get free lunch in school may not have access to healthy meals.

Here are twenty healthy food donation choices that are non-perishable and pretty tasty:

  • Fruit cups in fruit juice
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned fish in water (tuna, salmon)
  • Canned chicken breast
  • Canned vegetables (low sodium)
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Cereal (Cheerios, Rice Krispies)
  • Whole grain crackers
  • 100% juice boxes
  • Bags of beans (pinto, kidney, etc.)
  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Corn pasta (great for gluten-free diets)
  • Raisins
  • Dried fruits (cranberries, mangoes)
  • Mixed nuts
  • Granola bars
  • Soup (low sodium)

Along with food, many food pantries accept household items. Here are some items that may be in high demand at your local bank:

  • Dish detergent
  • Laundry detergent
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Shampoo
  • Grocery store gift cards
  • Toilet tissue
  • Paper towels

If you’d like to consider other options here are five general guidelines for donating food.

Choose non-perishable food. Most food banks prefer non-perishable food because there is less likelihood of food expiring on the shelf. Also, many locations do not have refrigeration.

Only donate unopened food that is in commercial packaging. The safety of donations is imperative.

Shop for things that are in non-breakable containers. Think plastic, cans and boxes. This makes it easier to stock and it cuts down on the likelihood of someone getting cut by broken glass.

Make sure your containers have expiration dates. This is important for the food pantry and for the person/family that receives it.

If you have produce and are interested in donating, call ahead. Some food pantries will accept produce if they can distribute it before the expiration timeframe. However, not all pantries have the capacity or system in place to handle produce.

 

Thanks for donating your resources and let me know if there are other things that should be added to the list!

Towanda

Girls Night In Party Idea – Vision Board

Vision Board Supplies And Gratitude Journal

howtovisionboardsuppliesThis past weekend I had a few girlfriends over for our monthly book study. Because our topics included gratitude and joy, I thought it would be nice to have each person work on a vision board.

In true “Towanda fashion,” it couldn’t be just a vision board. I wanted our boards to be a part of a journal… an overall one-thing-fits-all journal to capture our gratitude thoughts, life plans, general happenings and achievements throughout the year.

To prepare I bought poly folders with prongs and pockets, sheet protectors, glue sticks, various types of paper, markers, crayons and pens. I also supplied magazines and scissors.

Some of my girlfriends came up with AWESOME vision boards. They put their creations in a sheet protector and added it to their folder. Behind the board I encouraged them to add loose leaf paper that they could use to journal.

It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I started the process. Notice I say “started.” That’s right. I facilitated the process, encouraged everyone else, but I just couldn’t find the right pictures for my vision.

Now, I’ve tasked myself with locating other images and finishing before Christmas.

I’m sharing my half-done board because many of you may be planning to do your own vision board, and you may get frustrated when you can’t find the right images.

This frustration can be amplified if all you see are finished boards and don’t see the struggle that went into it.

Now, you don’t have to beat yourself up if you don’t finish it in one setting. I’m here to keep you company, :-).

The Option of Happy

A Stream of Conscious Post (meaning I didn’t proof, edit or make this pretty. I simply typed what I was thinking…)

 

I have found a common thread in perpetually unhappy people. It’s the feeling of being in an unpleasant situation with no way out. They feel stuck in a job they don’t like, but it pays the bills. They are in a relationship that is not fulfilling, but they have settled and don’t think they deserve or can do better. Or they get comfortable in the dysfunction.

These are some of the same people that read an article about how to be happy, have joy, find work-life balance and laugh because they can’t understand how a person would make some of the choices that these how-to articles and books say are necessary for the positive outcome.

As a person that loves joy, this makes me sad. We all have options and at any time we can decide to move towards joy and away from unhappy. They are not always easy choices, but I haven’t seen where being unhappy is easy either.

I believe in the law of attraction and that the universe will give you what you will accept. I do believe that hard work is necessary, but if that hard work is doing something you enjoy the fact that it’s hard is just fine.

I think that there are enough ways in this world for everyone to have their own, and that it is an injustice to God and me if I try to make myself fit into a mold just to make others comfortable. I am genuinely me and I do not apologize for that.

I am always trying to be a better version of me, but never do I want to be a version of someone else. And I hope that by being me, I give those around me just a little more incentive to be true to themselves.

That is all.

Power In The Little Things

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. A REALLY. BIG. roller coaster. In true Towanda fashion I have handled it like I typically handle the coasters of life.

I keep myself busy until I feel I am okay enough to deal with the low parts.

Today was no different. I worked, ran errands and even fit in a doctor’s visit. When I came home I had a long list of things to do… because I needed to have a long list of things to do.

Then I saw this. My pajamas on a hanger.

Due to schedules, my mom is here to help out with the kids. However, since she is Supermom she also helps out around the house and today she did laundry (I told y’all, she’s Supermom!).

I’m sure she thought nothing of putting my pajamas on a hanger, but I never do this. At first I started to take them off and throw them in the drawer, but then I realized how good I felt seeing them on the hanger.

It made me feel like it was okay to slow down, ignore the long to-do list and take a few minutes for myself.

It also reminded me of the importance of doing things for each other. She had no idea of the impact this would have on me. She was simply being MOM.

Wonder why I’m sharing this? It’s easy to get caught up in our own world, but there is so much power in random acts of kindness and service to others. Wonderful, beautiful, power.

I hope this reminds you to call or text a friend, buy a card, take dinner to someone going through some things, whatever you can think of. As for me? I’m hanging my pajamas from this point forward, :-).