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It Takes A Dream

I’ve been in love with books my entire life.  I kid you not.  My mom started teaching me how to read at an early age.  I read my first book by myself when I was 3.  I remember starting preschool and asking if I could read a book for storytime once.  Our classroom had two teachers- Mrs. O and Ms. H (who happened to be my mother’s older sister).  
Mrs. O taught for sure when I asked to read Snow White (it was my favorite book at time) that I was just going to give a narration of the pictures.  My aunt told her, that I could in fact read and so I did my first storytime while they laid out snacks.  I remember just feeling so happy and over-the-moon proud of myself.  All the other kids were in awe that K could read.  They wanted to learn to.
My love affair with books inspired me to want to become a writer.  The only problem was I hated the actual action of writing.  If I could have spoken into a mic and had my stories written for me, I’m sure I would have been the youngest writer in the world.  But that kind of technology wasn’t out back then.  I hated writing because I felt like I wasn’t good at it.
My actual handwriting was sloppy and often times unreadable.  And I was bad speller.  Sure, I could read, but that was because I knew how to sound out words and once you sound out the same words enough times, you just recognize them when you them.  My mom finally put her foot down and started making me practice writing on the weekends until I was in the second grade.
That’s when my want turned into a dream.  I became separable from my notebook and my pen.  True story.  My family was always asking me when my novel was coming out because all I ever did was write.  And if I wasn’t writing, I was reading.  And I wasn’t really reading books for my age group either.  I think that I read my first James Patterson book at 12 or 13.  And by the time I was 14, I had learned so much about sex from reading explicit books from authors like Zane.
My mom had had the sex the talk with me, but reading about it in graphic detail was different.  I started discovering iconic authors and books like Toni Morrison, Walter Dean Myers and Jane Eyre (my all time favorite book) or the Great Gatsby.  I was just in awe of the talent and the ability for a book to suck me in emotionally and help me escape from reality for a while.
My dream continued to grow and I started taking a creative writing class in high school.  I took honors and AP English classes because we got to write more beyond the essays on Shakespeare and share original pieces.  In college, even though I was a fashion major, I took two creative writing classes.  I started this blog and got the opportunity to co-author a great book on surviving motherhood with some pretty awesome ladies.  I felt like I was on top of the moon.  I felt like a legit writer.
And then, I realized that I wanted to write that novel that I’d always dreamed of writing and Forever Branded was born.  It’s been a slow and sometimes frustration process, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I recently enlisted the help of my favorite go-to person for things related to visual and graphic designing, Christina of Being Mrs Jones and fellow author, for some help with my book cover and I have to say she really delivered (cover reveal coming soon on my author blog)!
Seeing that book cover just made everything feel so official and real.  My dreams are coming fruition and it feels amazing.  This journey has taught me that all things are possible, but it takes a dream first, then having the faith to believe in that dream and keeping yourself surrounded by others who believe in you and your dream!  So, whatever your dream, I urge you to go for it.  Don’t throw in the towel.  
I’ve wanted to write a novel since I was in the second grade and I’m just now accomplishing my dream at 28.  It took a while, but if you want something bad enough, you keep pushing to make it happen.  You climb the ladder and take steps to make your moment a reality.  So give in to dreaming and then dare yourself to chase those dreams!
What is/was your biggest dream?
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Up And Running

Well, folks I can scratch one thing off my Mind Right Monday goal list.  Moo’s Closet is officially up and running!  Granted I only got one item listed, but I couldn’t be more proud of myself either because I’ve been dragging my feet on this for some time. It’s always been dream to own my a boutique. After all I was a fashion merchandising major.  So, Moo’s Closet is my first project to see how well I will do as a boutique owner.
I commend other online boutique/shop owners like Christina from over at Being Mrs Jones.  I admire her commitment to Chic Chanta.  And shout out to Mimi from Lipgloss & Binky for taking it to the major league with the launch of Divinitee.  It takes a lot of time, brainstorming and staying up after the kids are in bed to run a shop.  Or any business really for that matter.   You have to come up with a banner, store policies, an owner bio, background info on your brand, etc.  Don’t even get me started about pictures.
The point I’m trying to make is that this is something that I’m going to take serious and work hard to flip into a success.  My ultimate goal is take Moo’s Closet beyond Etsy and eventually turn it into a brick and mortar storefront in the next year.  Big dreams I know, but half of the most successful boutique owners and designers dreamt big and it paid off.
More importantly, Moo’s Closet is more than just a passion or my third baby.  It’s putting us in the position of being closer to our dream home.  Yes, folks we’re about to kickoff another round of house hunting.  (Pray for us!)  And this time, we’ll even be taking a look at a few land parcels.
I’d much rather buy something already built and renovate instead of contributing to tearing down more wildlife homes, but hey we gotta do what we gotta do at the end of the day.  I’ve had with attached living-apartments, condos, duplexes.  Sure I’ll miss having a landlord who gets to foot the bill for repairs like $250 valve sensor replacement on the gas tank, but we’ve had a slew of crappy and loud ass neighbors for the past few years..  And I’m ready to get in a place where when we make memories I don’t have to feel guilty because we’ll be leaving the place we made them behind once a lease expires.
Anyways, I don’t want to make this a long post.  So, while you can’t cop an album from me, you can scurry over to my shop and cop a scarf.  Christmas lapel/sweater pins coming soon as well as other merchandise!
The Pastel Moo Scarf 
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A Dream Worth Dying For

“A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Nobody lived by these words better than Dr. King did.  This strong, intelligent, determined Black man believed so much in his dream to help to create equality in the United States that he was willing to die for it.  And on April 4, 1968, that is exactly what happened.  For that I am so very grateful.
You see, I grew up in a mostly White town.  Growing up there was certainly a divide among the Black and White students.  Most of the Black students didn’t take honors classes.  In fact, my senior year I was the only Black person in my AP English class.  However, I was blessed to have a wonderful teacher who truly didn’t care about color, class or gender.
She always did her very best to make that we read just many books and stories about Blacks as we did about Shakespeare.  And somehow, I’m convinced that regardless of not if I had been in her class or not, she still would have selected the reading material she did.  In my opinion, she was one of the few non-Black teachers who truly embraced Dr. King’s mindset of total equality.
Today, I live in a nice neighborhood where there is only two other Black families besides my own.  And I’m thankful that we get along with almost all of our neighbors.  I’m pretty sure that without Dr. King and his Civil Rights peers, I wouldn’t have had such good experiences in these situations.
So, today we’re not celebrating the achievements of Dr. King, but a renewing of his legacy.  I challenge everyone reading this take on a dream that you feel is worth dying for.  Find that one thing that you are passionate to death about and go for it.  Maybe, it’s something to do with your kids, your family, your community, etc.  Just go forth and make a positive difference!
How are you keeping Dr. King’s legacy alive?
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Chasing the Call

As I write this, it’s a little after 1 AM and while I know that should be sleeping because the kids will be up bright and early, I can’t sleep.  Ever since my high (not from drugs) from earlier yesterday, has got me thinking. I’ve been talking these few moments of quietness while my little ones sleep to dig deep and ask myself what do I want to do with my life?
Seriously, this is a question I have been pondering for quite some time now.  And as I approach my 26th birthday, I can’t help but wonder why I haven’t figured this out yet?  Or better yet why aren’t I doing it?  Yes, I love blogging and freelancing every now and again but I can’t help but to feel like there’s some bigger picture.  There has to be.
I’ve been chasing my calling for years it seems.  And for years it seems to keep eluding me like a thief.  When I look back on my life, I don’t want to have regrets when it comes to this area.  More importantly, I don’t want to look back and wonder if the example I set for my kids in this area was a good one.  Being a stay at home mom has been blessing, especially with Moo and her many allergies.
However, it’s not enough.  I don’t feel complete.  I feel like something’s missing.  And because of that I feel like I’m chasing the impossible.  I thought I had my life all mapped out.  Well, I did have it all mapped out but then I went off course.  Things changed. Heck, I changed.
So, having pondered this until I’m quite honestly pondered out, I’ve come to this conclusion:
My calling is to help others.  At the end of the day, nothing gives me more joy (except motherhood) than helping others.  I think the fact that growing up so many people stepped up for me, now I want to return the good karma to the universe by doing the same.
I want to make a difference on a bigger scale but now I just have to figure out how.
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All In A Dream

“A dream realized is good, but a dream achieved is better.”
~YUMMommy Proverb
When I graduated high school, I had a list of dreams that I wanted to accomplish.  I wanted to graduate from college, move to New York, get a job in fashion, write for a big name magazine and travel the world.  I was pretty sure that I had my life all planned out.  However, as I soon learned, everything does not always go as planned.  
Here I am almost seven years later and I’m still working on getting my master’s degree.  I haven’t moved to New York.  I had a job in fashion retail.  No, I haven’t caught the eye of any big name magazines yet.  And traveling around the world for me means going down to my mom’s house.  Pretty sad right?
Not really.  What I have done is found the love of my life, gotten married, had two beautiful children, moved away from home and started this wonderful blog.  In process of achieving all of this, I’ve realized that my dreams are still the same. Almost.  I’m torn between whether or not I still want to move to New York.  Anyways, with two kids and strong desire to still make something more of myself, I’m more determined than ever to accomplish my dreams. 
Starting YUMMommy has opened a lot of doors for me.  It’s allowed me to meet and bond with some pretty awesome men and women.  Before I started this blog, I knew that I loved writing and inspiring others but I didn’t know how much.  I get a rush when write.  And it warms my heart when I read a comment about how my writing has touched someone in a positive way.
It’s because of YUMMommy that I have been motivated to not give up on my master’s or settle for just an associate’s degree.  I’ve read about how so many of you with way more obstacles than I have going back to grad school.  Some of you have even started your own businesses and brands!! 
 I’m realizing that I don’t have to write for those big name magazines, I can become one.  I deserve and desire better.  Likewise my children deserve to have a mommy who can teach them how to follow their dreams. 
You see, there will be times in your life when you will get caught up in life and forget that at one point you had dreams.  However, when you do realize those dreams again, you should work harder at achieving them.  When we achieve our dreams we conquer our deepest fear– failure.  When we achieve our dreams we prove to ourselves that we more than adequate.  
So, go ahead and dare to dream again!  Go ahead and watch all your fears disappear.  Best of all remember than becoming the best you all lies in a dream.
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I Have a Dream Too

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, I wrote this poem.  Hope that it touches, inspires and motivates!

I Have a Dream Too
Not to long ago
There was a man
And his name was
Dr. Martin Luther King
Born in the mist
Of poverty and injustice
He became
Someone great
He showed us
How to
Move Forward
Have Faith
His most important
Lesson to me
Is that
I Too Have A Dream!
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Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday is back.  Yes, I know it has been a while since I’ve done a Thankful Thursday post, but I’m going to make a renewed effort in posting one every Thursday from here on out.  I’m also in the process of designing a Thankful Thursday button.  My hope is to start a Thankful Thursday blog hop.  I truly believe that when you take the time out to see all the things you have to be thankful for, it takes your mind off the negatives in your life.

So, this Thursday, I am thankful for a renewed outlook on my life.  If you’ve been following along with the posts then you’d know that I have had a lot going on this year.  I started off as a single mom, lost a few loved ones, got back together with the love of life, fell out with my mom for a while, got married and now I’m pregnant with my second child and hunting for my dream house.  It just all took its toll on me.  I kind of lost focus of my dreams, goals and even the importance of somethings.

And rather than really deal with it, I felt better sweeping it all under a rug.  I fell into a state of self-pity.  Poor me-pregnant and trying to find a perfect house that probably doesn’t exist.  I had fallen off with writing on this blog even and that was the last straw.  I locked myself in the bathroom and took a long hard look in our bathroom mirror.  I hated what I saw.

I looked defeated and worn.  And my friends can tell you that I’m always fab.  They have never seen me with a bad anything day.  But somehow I had let myself go and honestly I don’t know how it happened.  But I do know that looking in the mirror and seeing what was looking back at me was enough to light a fire under me.

I started back writing my blog, started taking more pride in my appearance (I’m a fashion major after all) and just taking the time to think about what I want from my life.  Then a week ago I stumbled across Your Best Life Now For Moms by Joel Olsteen.  My mom had given me the book the Christmas Moo was born.  And somehow I had misplaced it in my sea of boxes from my move.

I started reading it again and came up a devotation in which Joel just put in plain words-get up off my butt and take control of my life.  How was I ever going to become this great, inspirational mogul sitting around pouting?  I wouldn’t.  So,  I’ve renewed my outlook on my life.  I’m taking the needed steps to make things happen.  I always thought sponsors and readers would flock to my blog, but the truth is if I don’t go to them they won’t even know I exist.

I’m serious about writing and about touching others through my writing.  I’m back to working on my children’s book series and am looking into getting back into school once my second baby is here.  I know it’s a huge task to take on but I see my other mommy blogger friends and real life bff doing it. So, I don’t have any excuse.  I’m getting dolled up just to go to the grocery store (for now because that’s as far as my morning sickness will allow me to go).

I’ve even joined a few groups on in hopes that my morning sickness will get under control and I’ll be able to get my social life back on track.  I’ve even started planning to take trips to visit my friends. I’m discovering that I want to own my own restaurant someday.  I love cooking (bet you didn’t know that).  I feel like a Black Paula Deen and Julia Child.  I’m getting my act together and taking my life by horns and you should too.

Take the time to figure out what you want from life at this stage.  Sure you know what you wanted five years ago but you’re older, wiser and priorities change.  Don’t get stuck in a rut like I did.  Expand your outlook on your life and chase after your destiny!!

16 More Days Til Christmas!!!

PS-Don’t forget to upload your holiday pics to our Young Urban Modern Mommies Fan Page on Facebook.  Not a fan?  Check out the box in the right sidebar and invite a friend.  Don’t forget to grab the YUMMommy button.

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Once Upon a Summer in 1969

As a child who grew up in a low income single parent home, the one thing we weren’t low on was a hefty supply of reading books.  We had every kind of book imaginable.  Crime novels, the Goosebump series, Harry Potter and even classics like Jane Eyre and A Tale of Two Cities. Our local library was always discarding books and once our junior high librarian found out that all five of us shared a passion for reading, she would give us first dibs on the discarded books from the school.  My mom always told us that being a good reader was the key to succeeding in life.

You have to read so much during your lifetime.  Contracts, proposals, grants and much more.  so many people who get swindled turn out to not enjoy reading.  Passionate readers 9 times out of 10 always read everything from cover to cover-even the fine print.  Now that I’m a young mom to my adorable, but super busy Moo, I hope to instill in her the same passion for reading that I have developed over the years.

The one thing I thirsted for most in my reading adventures where books that featured characters that looked like me-brown skin, dark textured hair, dark eyes.  However, there weren’t many books like that in my mostly white hometown of Cheraw. So, I settled for what we had.  I don’t want Moo settling though.  I think it’s important for her to see and read books with African and African American characters as well as books that will help her identify with her Native American and Italian heritage too.

Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to create a library and check out books that will quench both our thirsts for the time being.  First up is ‘The Moon over Star‘ by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by the very talented Jerry Pinkney.  Now at first glance at the cover you’d think that Dianna is a Black author, but she’s actually White.  I was surprised to find that out from her picture inside the book cover.

However, her race does not take away from the beautiful story she wrote about a little girl’s excitement and fascination with the 1969 launch of the Eagle shuttle into space.  And despite the little girl’s and the rest of the world’s interest in the history making journey of Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins, her grandfather (a farmer) feels like space expeditions are a waste of government funds.  The 60s were hard times for Blacks.  You had the Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow Laws and shooting of JFK (the Bill Clinton of his day).  Her grandfather feels like there are other needs should be handled here on Earth with those funds.

Her grandfather’s noticeable lack of interest in the shuttle launch does not stop her from dreaming and fantasizing about one day being able to become an astronaut herself.  It’s not until the end that young girl realizes that her grandfather’s displeasure might be linked to the fact that he never got the chance to pursue his dream like those men on the Eagle were doing.  And Gramps finally understands his granddaughter’s interest in the moon the landing when she reveals to him that she dreams of one day landing on the moon too.

The best part of the book is the last page where Aston wrote, “Gramps  had looked to the moon all of his life.  It told him when to plant and when to harvest.  And once upon a summer’s night, it told me to dream.”  Isn’t it ironic that the person who knew how to read the moon best never got to touch it?  I certainly recommend this Coretta Scott King Award winner to everybody.  Even as an adult this book moved me.

It reminded me that anything can inspire us to dream.  And just because we don’t understand the dreams of others doesn’t mean we should discourage them from pursuing them.  Once upon a summer in 1969, a little girl in Star dreamed of landing on the moon.  And once upon a summer, winter, fall or spring my Moo will discover her dreams.