Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and host of others, who have sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears for the freedoms that I enjoy today. In the fight for equality, you modeled yourselves after Jesus Christ using love, hope, peace, and forgiveness as your weapons for battle.

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

A simple thank you is not enough. May my life be evidence of the fruit of your labor and an example for others that through Jesus Christ victory is secure.

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Weekend Project: Serenity Space

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Every woman needs a place in their home where they can take some time to re-center and recharge. It does not take a lot of space nor does it take a lot of money. I have created Serenity Spaces in a number of areas in my home. One of my favorites is in a corner of my bedroom, my personal nail salon. I love painting my own nails. However, I do leave the pedicures to the professionals. It is a very calming process of preparing my nails, moisturizing my hands, and then applying the color.

I make the experience enjoyable by listening to contemporary jazz while taking in the scenery of my space and the view through the nearby window. Maintaining a variable selection of polishes and attractively storing the needed supplies is essential. A crystal container is used for the cotton balls. In the mason jar are the nail files, clippers, and cuticle trimmers. On the tray are items there mostly for visual purposes and my favorite lotion. The desk that I use was an inexpensive thrift store purchase for $30 which I painted. I love my nail salon!

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When you are creating your space, consider the following:

  1. What you love and the spaces that you have available? Example spaces could be the bath, your closet, a craft room, a desk in the kitchen, office, etc.
  2. Once you have settled on a space, determine what activity will take place in that area? For example, a comfortable chair in a corner of your home that you will use for quiet time and reading.
  3. Do you have the needed supplies? Make a list of what you need to ensure that you do not forget anything that you will use in your space.
  4. How will you store the supplies? Mason jars, crystal vases, ceramic bowls, and tea cups can be used to store small items. However, you may want book shelves or other larger storage items depending on your needs.
  5. What accessories will you use to enhance the beauty of the space? The attractiveness of the space is what will entice you to use it frequently.

Have fun creating your serenity space or spaces, it will make your home even more enjoyable for you. Taking the few minutes to relax, will also make you a more enjoyable person, too. Your home is your castle, make a space for the queen that you are.

Weekend in the City

Need a quick get-away? Try a staycation with your family. Every year near the end of the summer, I plan a short get-away weekend with the family. My favorite staycation, thus far, has been in downtown Dallas, Texas. I reserved a room at one the tallest hotels in Dallas, the Sheraton. When we arrived for check-in, I requested the room closest to the top as possible. The kind and accommodating staff at the Sheraton did not disappoint. Look at the view from our room. It was spectacular!

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We valeted the car at the Sheraton and visited sites within walking distance, such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Klyde Warren Park. Needless to say, the boys had a wonderful time. We ended the evening with a swim in the rooftop pool and ordered room service with whatever their hearts desired. The next morning, we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast at Café Brazil and then went shopping in the Knox-Henderson area. If you have young kids, they will enjoy a shopping trip at Froggies 5 &10. There are other shops, e.g. Crate and Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Z Gallerie, fine boutiques and restaurants, that the parents will enjoy, too.

The children mimicking the pose of the La Nuit by Aristide Maillol ay the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas.

The children mimicking the pose of the La Nuit by Aristide Maillol at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas.

I am a working mother, who values quality over quantity of time with my family. On our weekend, there was no lack of quality. We will always treasure our Dallas staycation. Try this out with your family. It is a great way for your children to get to know their home town even better. If you live in Dallas or want to visit, I have listed below websites to the places that we visited. There is nothing ordinary about these establishments. Adult and child, alike, will discover something “marvalous” at each place.

Happy staycation planning!

The Sheraton Dallas Hotel:           http://www.sheratondallashotel.com/

The Dallas Museum of Art:           http://www.dma.org/

The Nasher Sculpture Center:      http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/

Klyde Warren Park:                        http://www.klydewarrenpark.org/

Café’ Brazil:                                    http://cafebrazil.com/

Knox-Henderson:                           http://www.knoxhenderson.com/

Froggies 5 & 10:                             Listed on Facebook as Froggies 5 &10

Weekend Project

“You can take the girl out of New Orleans. But, you cannot take New Orleans out of the girl.

These statements are definitely true of me. I am sure that many of you can replace New Orleans with your home town. In honor of the city that I love, I created a street name poster. I admit the idea was inspired by art pieces that I have seen listing well-known streets in famous cities. However, in the one I created each street listed is of personal significance to me. For example, Magazine Street is famous for its antique shops. Personally, I know Magazine Street best as the street of my High School, Xavier University Preparatory, part of the Crescent City Classic Annual Run, and the street that leads to the Audubon Zoo. This is a quick, simple, and fun project that you can complete in less than an hour.DSCF0592[1]

You will need the following supplies:

  1. One (1) sheet of off white lightly textured paper.
  2. Picture frame and size for your specifications.
  3. Matting for the off white paper.
  4. Use of various fonts in your computer.
  5. Printer

Play with the fonts until you like the organization of the information on the page. Then place the poster in a frame, display, and enjoy!

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Dream Living

Have you ever considered living in another city, state, or country? Whether you want to make it a reality or just curious, looking at real estate listings on-line is a great way to view various types of properties here in the States and abroad. One of my dreams include owning a beautiful apartment in Paris, France. Perhaps when I retire, I can make that dream a reality. Until then I will enjoy peeking through the doors of properties for sale represented by The Paris Property Group. It even inspires my interior decorating at home. Here is an example of one of the many beautiful properties, copied from Paris Property Group (2014). Rue Emile Gilbert 75012 Paris. http://www.parispropertygroup.com/properties/residential/rue-emile-gilbert/.

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Below are some websites that I recommend. I hope they inspire you, too. Happy Monday!

Paris Property Group (Paris, France): http://www.parispropertygroup.com/properties/residential/

Lucas Fox International Properties (Madrid, Spain): http://www.lucasfox.com/Property/Spain/madrid.html

Foxtons (London, England): http://www.foxtons.co.uk/

Ready, Set, Goals!

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Happy New Year!

It feels great to start a fresh new year. It is also a good time to set goals for 2015. The key to success in setting goals is to make them achievable, measurable, and establishing deadlines for each goal. It is equally important not to set too many goals, as you risk losing focus. Further, you want your goals to be meaningful to you (your incentive) and those that will be impacted by the results (your support). Do consider goals that will bring personal satisfaction and fulfillment when the goal is achieved. This will drive you to success. Then write the goals down in a notebook or type them, print, and post them in a visible area. Last, under each goal mark the steps that you need to accomplish each goal and set timelines to get the individual steps accomplished.

This year, one of my goals is to run 3 miles by June 2015. I love running. The milestones to help me reach this goal are to:

  1. Achieve running continuously for 1 mile by February 15, 2015.
  2. Achieve running continuously for 2 miles by April 15, 2015.
  3. Achieve running continuously for 3 miles by May 31, 2015.

I wish you success in setting and achieving your goals for 2015!

The Gift

There was a beautiful woman who bought a special box. The box was white as snow and tied with a lovely red velvet ribbon. One would think inside the box was a wonderful gift. However, the woman kept the box to herself. Day after day, she would open the box and throw trash in it. After days, weeks, and years of carrying this box, the woman grew tired and weary of carrying the heavy box. One day in a park, she sat on a bench placing the box beside her. A kind man noticed her and sat beside her. He asks the woman why she looked so unhappy. She laughed, not wanting to expose her true feelings. Then, almost as quickly as her laughing ended, she cried. The man handed to her his handkerchief. Then he asks her why she is crying. Unable to hold it in any longer, she starts to tell him the truth.

She says, “I bought this box a long time ago. Inside it, I have placed trash for every time I was disappointed, sad, angry, frustrated, basically whenever I felt bad. The outside is beautiful, which is what I wanted everyone to see. Yet, inside it is garbage. I am exhausted from carrying this box with me everywhere, I go.”

The kind man, then asks if he could have the box. The women looked puzzled at his question.

The kind man repeats the question, “Can I have the box?”

She says, “Yes. What will you do with it?”

The kind man smiles and says, “I will use the trash as fertilizer for my garden.”

She starts to smile. “Sir, you are so kind to take this from me. May I ask your name?

The kind man answers, “Jesus. I can take every disappointment, frustrating, sorrowful, and angry moment and use it as fertilizer for my garden to grow beautiful flowers of joy, peace, forgiveness, and love. My garden is in your heart.”

Then he stood, placed his hand on her face and smiled.

She sat in amazement and felt encouraged, as she watched him walk away with her gift.

*****

Have you ever been this woman? I wrote this story because, at times, I am her.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28, NIV).”

There is no need to carry that box. Join me in ridding ourselves of this box  and being open for the blessings of 2015 and the rest of our lives. Happy New Year!

Marva