Wednesday, December 4, 2013

16 Ways to Know Your Life Is In Crisis-Hoarder Style

It wasn't very long ago that I could have admitted to several of the below examples.  But I want you to know that just like those who suffer from the actual addiction, your life doesn't have to be this way.  Like most things in life, if it is worth having then it is worth the work.  To me, your life is worthy of having the quality, purpose, fulfillment and happiness you deserve.  It is time to start cleaning out the closet and sorting through the baggage or trash that weighs you down. Personal growth is not always easy, pretty or comfortable.  But when the trash is gone, your pathway is clear and your eyes can focus on the light that not only shines through your window, but on the other side of the door that leads to an Unstoppable You!! 

16 Ways to Know Your Life Is In Crisis-Hoarder Style

1.     Your house looks nice on the outside, but when you open the door, the dysfunction and chaos is exposed.  It has gotten out of control and unmanageable. 

2.     Your life is cluttered with people who serve no positive purpose.

3.     There is so much garbage (fear, gossip and drama) in your life that there is no clear path for you to reach your personal and professional goals.

4.     Trash (personal baggage) is piled up around your door, therefore blocking blessings from reaching you.

5.     Your mess (not forgiving, accepting responsibility, and moving forward) affects your health, shortening your lifespan.

6.     The smell (drama) keeps you up at night.  Above all, it keeps people away.

7.     The devil is excited your house is unkempt because he wants to finish demolishing it, serving you a permanent eviction notice. 

8.     After a while, your mess is so bad it spills over to the outside (social media).  But you don’t see anything wrong with it.

9.     You complain no one is willing to help you clean up your mess but when people do, you become lazy, watching them do all the work.

10.  You have so much stuff (unresolved problems) that it begins to close in on you.  Suffocating you from reality, society, and the life God desires for you.

11.  You have been holding on to so much clutter (pain from the past) that you find other junk (alcohol, drugs… etc.) to make you happy (fill the void or numb the pain).

12.  Your house is such a mess that it keeps visitors (positive people) from coming in.  The only company you have is the rats and roaches (negative family and friends).  They don’t think anything is wrong with the way things look, smell, and feel.

13.  You know that you’re not living right but pride keeps you from seeking the help (God) you need.

14.  Your house is gloomy and dark.  Sunlight hasn't shined through your windows in months.

15. Your house is such a mess that you misplace your valuables (self-esteem, courage, love, purpose, peace, self-satisfaction and personal growth).

16. Your house is such a mess that it literally becomes an emotional, mental and physical jail.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Beauty Scars of Survival


How many of you have ever been a little clumsy, fell down and scraped your knee?  Or wasn't paying attention when reaching into the stove to pull out your casserole and nicked your arm?
     I lost count of how many self-inflicted scars I have scattered all over from the top of my head down to the bottom of my flat feet. When injured, I never hesitated to properly treat the wound.  Before I used anything to cover it up, I first had to clean it out with antiseptic.  Then, as I winced, dabbed some Neosporin to sooth the pain and speed up the healing process.  Last but not least, I dressed it with gauze or a band aid.  At the time of the injury, I didn't think of the mark it would leave.  I just wanted the throbbing to subside and for the wound to get better so it wouldn't get infected.  After a few days, I was able to remove the band aid.  Even though the mark was there, it had faded to where I barely noticed.  
     Although I was never self-conscious about my scars, I know that there are people who will go the extra mile to cover it with makeup or even dress differently.  None the less, that mark becomes a permanent scar on our outward appearance.  Many of us have suffered deep gashes to our heart or spirit.  It jolts us like an earthquake and knocks us off our feet.  Emotions take over and we scramble to figure out what to do next.  If we stop and take the time to nurture our inside wounds like we do the ones on the outside, then we will be alright.  When properly treated, I consider these intimate marks, our beauty scars of survival.  

There were a series of events throughout my life that shook me to the core.  Low self-esteem, depression, and loneliness made themselves comfortable and at home.  It took me to a dark place and tested my will to see the light of day.  But if it weren't for God throwing me a life preserver, wrapping me in His grace and mercy, I can only imagine how my life would have ended up.  Always on time, God allowed the right person to cross my path at the very moment I needed.  They were able to pick me up and guide me to the right resources so I could get back on track. 
        I haven’t gone through anything different than what most people have.  I can imagine there is someone else out there who has experienced financial hardships, a broken heart, death of loved ones, abuse, discrimination, bullying and so on.  I am grateful I reached out and held on to God’s life preserver.  I never gave up, kept my head above water and to Satan's surprise, I didn't drown.  I realized that in order to move forward, I must heal from within.  It was a slow and uncomfortable process but it was essential to open up and use my internal first aid kit.  That kit was stocked with God’s word, my church, loving friends and family, Mary J. Blige music, Iyanla Vanzant and T.D. Jakes to name a few!    
     Although I am a work in progress, it has only been the last seven years or less where I have gotten to the point of loving and accepting me just for who I am.  I now have the courage to share and expose those past symbols of hurt.  They represent my journey and are a verbal as well as visual testimony of proof.  I am on a steady path of self-awareness, improvement and growth.  Embracing my beauty scars have allowed my current relationships to benefit.   I gained strength and wisdom through the storm.  So if and when my foundation gets rocked again, I know how to attend to my injuries better.  Because I am a survivor!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Race To Personal Success-What Gear Is Your Child In?


As a parent, caretaker or educator, the responsibility to provide the best opportunities for our children to succeed in life, should begin and end with us.  Although there is no right or wrong answer (for the most part) in the handbook of raising a child, being a positive role model and leading by example, should be our top priority.  Despite our best efforts, outside influences such as peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, as well as violence in schools become obstacles that our children will face.  In order for our youth to have a chance of surviving those issues that plague our communities, we must set a foundation of solid principles in which they can fall back on.  Your child is in the driver’s seat and personal success awaits them.  What gear are they in?   
     Every child has the potential to become and do great things.  As they navigate through life, it is our role to be their pit crew so to speak.  We pick them up, guide and if necessary, give a little push.  As they grow and develop, finding their identity, we sit on the side line cheering them on, waiting for the next time they might have to pull over for another tune up. 

But our hard work won’t pay off if the child is in the following gears:
*Park-lazy, unmotivated, with excuse after excuse.
*Reverse-bad behaviors, doing everything contrary of what a productive citizen of society is supposed to do.

Things work better if they have the gear shifted in:
*Neutral-transition or at the fork in the road, may need other resources to help with decisions.
*Drive-willing and ready to do what it takes to achieve their goals.

Life is so precious and tomorrow awaits no one.  We owe it to our youth to succeed in every possible way, keeping their gear in drive.  As adults, we must do a personal inventory, ensuring that we not only talk the talk but walk the walk.  Is your mind, body and soul in sync or are you stuck in park, in need of a tune up?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bullied No More!

       As a young girl, I experienced many hurtful things that I would love to forget but somehow can't since they have been etched into my memory.  Now as an older wiser woman who is a mother and motivational speaker sharing life's experiences, I am inclined to recall these memories so that my journey in personal growth and development, can one day inspire someone else to face their deep dark secrets.  Because it exposes my countless moments of weaknesses, it is hard to admit the fact that I was the victim of bullying as a child.  If you've ever been on the receiving end of intimidation from other children, you may have experienced an overwhelming amount of emotions. Fear, anxiety, and loneliness are just a small fraction of what I went through and how it affected me as I got older.
     In grade school, I remember being approached and asked for money by a much bigger and older girl.  At the time, I didn't think a great deal of it since I was familiar with her and her family.  But shortly after, the request became frequent followed by threats if I didn't have the money to give.  I took money out of my piggy bank so I wouldn't have to deal with the consequences if I showed up to school empty handed.  It got to the point where I would wish the girl was sick and hoped she didn't show up for school or I would methodically choose areas on the playground that were out of view so that she couldn't find me.  Things finally came to a head when she took my new Mickey Mouse watch that my parents had just bought me. When I returned home without it, that's when my parents became aware that something was wrong.  My dad talked to the girl's mother, I got my watch back and eventually she left me alone.
     But this wouldn't be my last experience with bullying type behavior.  In high school there were several African American boys, but one in particular, would tease me about my thick lips which his taunting then brought on more unwanted attention from other classmates.  My self esteem was already low, but being ridiculed by a male of my own race didn't help, especially when he had the same predominant African American features.  I didn't look forward to attending that class and when I stepped foot in into the room I had to mentally prepare myself for combat.  With my pride on the line, back against the wall and tired of his name calling, I would retaliate with a barrage of foul mouth language which disrupted the class even more.  I was so angry, but deep beneath that, I was hurt and confused.  I had already felt like an ugly duckling and the fact that someone who looked like me, let alone society, portrayed my features of thick lips, dark skin and kinky hair as unattractive was a lot to bear, especially for a young girl.
     Having low self esteem and a need for approval made me susceptible to the pitfalls and games that guys played in the quest for sexual pleasure.  I wanted to believe that I was attractive to someone and so the comments and attention I would sometimes receive gave me a false sense of security therefore I gave my mind, body and heart freely.  Overall, I was naive about boys, so called friends and life in general.  I didn't realize the natural beauty that I had possessed inside and out until I was in my mid twenties at which time I began to embrace all that I didn't like about myself.  I was beginning to see myself as a swan so to speak.
     Those that struggle with self doubt and acceptance throughout their younger years may often find themselves dealing with another form of bullying which is domestic violence relationships when they get older.  Such was the case in my last relationship prior to my marriage.  In the beginning, things seemed like rainbows and lollipops, but it didn’t take long for the true colors of my ex-boyfriend to show.  The abuse was gradual and lasted five and a half years before I woke up and said no more to being his verbal and physical punching bag.  By the end of that relationship, my self esteem had plummeted and I felt like I was the ugliest thing walking the earth.  How could someone who professes their love for me, intentionally use the very same self conscious flaws that I had against me?  
     Fast forward seven years, I can say that I am in a much better place.  It has taken some time to love and nurture my past wounds but I am getting there, I am a constant work in progress.  What I realize now about the bullies in my past is that their spirit was broken and they too felt self conscious about themselves in which they then projected their pain onto others.  That’s what bullies do, they target those that are spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically weak and intimidate their will upon them.
     So parents, guardians and care takers I leave you with this challenge.  Take off the blinders, stop being self absorbed and address the issues that our young boys and girls are facing today.  Teasing, isolating, hitting amongst many other bullying tactics are not ok and are not just child behaviors that they may eventually grow out of.  Bullying or being bullied can have short or long term effects.  The topics that you and your child should have will be uncomfortable but must be discussed.  Although it should be the duty of both parents, fathers especially, have a responsibility to not just love your daughters but to nurture her self esteem as well.  Help her to be wise in the ways of the boy across the street with raging hormones.  Setting a foundation of self love will be pivotal when those young girls turn into women and face even greater challenges.  Mothers, set the example for your sons, showing them qualities of what a woman is supposed to be like.  It is these qualities that will help guide him in the pursuit of a worthwhile and fulfilling relationship.  But at the end of the day, taking a genuine interest in your child and being a role model starts at home.  Best believe if you don’t, society will and it may not be positive.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

People, Places and Things-Surviving Alcohol, Drugs and Other Addictions

     For my last tour in the U.S. Navy I wanted to end my career continuing to do something bigger than myself.  I believed my natural qualities of warmth and compassion could be used in the field of military welfare.  In March 2010 I completed Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation Program School in Point Loma, California and in December 2011 received my Certificate of Competence Certification as an Alcohol Drug Counselor (ADCI).  I managed 119 drug and alcohol abuse/dependency cases, facilitated 212 hours of Early Education and Awareness classes and conducted 490 hours of therapy sessions that fostered successful recovery plans.  If there was one thing I often told patients that they must be willing to change as to increase their chances of a successful recovery is people, places and things.
      Change happens when we become spiritually broken, physically weak, and mentally exhausted. For the addict, these are the characteristics that can lead to relapse, which is normal when traveling the long road to recovery.  Hopefully those that abuse or who are addicted can make the connection before it's too late.  Denial, fear and stubbornness can be our own worst enemy when we repeatedly try to do the same thing expecting different results.  If what we have been doing is leaving us running on empty, then trying a whole new method with a higher success rate must be in order.  Normally surrendering is the first step in the right direction.  When we try to hide, duck and dodge it only prolongs the pain.  Admitting and confronting the issues head on can be truly uncomfortable but necessary.  With supportive friends, family, resources and a renewed faith to believe that we can do better because we deserve better, those are the ingredients to a recipe for happiness, wellness, quality of life and most importantly sobriety.   
     I remember a patient who was alcohol dependent that also admitted to being a sex addict as well.  He attended AA meetings, appeared to be open and honest during group therapy plus offered to help others struggling with their sobriety.  Wanting to be sociable, he thought that hanging back out at the local bars during karaoke night sipping on club soda was harmless.  For the first few nights, he did ok.  But when life threw him a curve ball of his estranged wife asking for more money while finding out she was dating other men, missing his children compiled on top of having sexual desires, relapse was knocking at his door.  Bottom line, he frequented a place that triggered old habits, surrounded himself in an atmosphere that fostered drinking and met people who were out to fulfill their sexual appetite too.  People, places and things led to his setback.  He stopped doing the things that were working.  Like many of us who are resistant to change, we find ourselves clawing our way out of the pit where rock bottom is trying to swallow us whole.  Reaching rock bottom is when we get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
    In order for positive personal growth and development we need to be around a positive environment.  Why would you choose to be around someone who is not encouraging, always complaining, and surrounded in drama?  Why would you gain insight from the isolation of being incarcerated, having the desire to get your life back on track and reunite with loved ones only to return to those that know your weaknesses and bad habits?  Ultimately we lack because we fail to do what is necessary even when it is not popular and requires much effort on our part.  Peace of mind and heart, purpose in life and power in our voice is awaiting us, all we have to do is make the essential changes to obtain it.  Life can be as simple or as hard as we make it.  If you fall or stumble, pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.  Vow to yourself to learn and grow from the process, using hope and faith in God as a life preserver when met with the next challenge.  This is how we prosper through life's journey.

Jennifer Foxworthy

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sick and Tired!!

     I wore my heart on my sleeve when I was younger out there looking for love.  I still do, but now I am not getting the short end of the stick.  At last I am in a loving and committed marriage with an amazing little boy and beautiful step children.  But along life's journey, I learned many lessons through being sick and tired of being sick and tired. 
     I was naive when it came to men, thinking if I treated them with warmth and compassion I would get the same in return.  Most times I was trying to prove that I was not like the last woman who broke their heart.  Silly me!!  I gave 80% and received 20%.  My time, money, body, and most importantly heart paid the price.  I must have had a flashing neon sign on my forehead that read "NO GOOD MAN PLEASE APPROACH!" 
     Finally, I grew sick and tired of unanswered phone calls, unexplained phone numbers in the pocket, broken promises of dates, sexually unfulfilled, finances out of control, lonely and depressed.  I knew something had to change.  In order for that change to happen, I needed to be honest with myself and take a personal inventory.  Although it was hard to swallow, I realized that I was the common denominator to my many disappointments.  I didn't set my standards and the love I was looking for needed to start with me.
      Reevaluating my priorities, I needed to love and value myself and until I could do that, how could I expect someone else to.  I was trying to be superwoman to men who were not ready to be with a woman like myself and instead of trying to change them, I was the one that needed changing.  I couldn't control the behaviors of those men but I sure could control mine.  I strengthened my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, became abstinent and rebuilt my self esteem.  I learned a lot about myself and knew that when the time presented itself, I would approach my next relationship differently.
       Being sick and tired of being sick and tired led to insight and necessary change.  When I got tired of the same results which played a continuous loop, cycle, or pattern that's when change happened.  Change is not pretty, comfortable, easy or fast.  But for my personal growth and development it was essential to achieving a quality of life I knew I deserved.

Jennifer C. Foxworthy

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs!

     Life wasn't easy.  But then again I don't think there is anyone out there who has never experienced loss of a loved one, sickness, discrimination, being bullied, domestic violence and countless others, just to name a few.  I can honestly say that I can put a check mark next to all of those plus some.  Through my 40 years of existence my faith and sanity were put to the test.  I admit, there were times I had reached my lowest point and all I could see was darkness.  When I thought I was at the ledge, God always had someone cross my path to offer a helping hand so that I didn't jump.
     It's these trials and tribulations that I experienced throughout my life that has me celebrating my triumphs.  I served my country proudly for 21 years in the Navy and now as a second career I am pursuing my passion and purpose to inspire, motivate and encourage others to hang in there, God will throw you a life line if you just believe and hold on.  If you want something bad enough, tap into your talents and open your heart to the possibilities of what is waiting for you.  I have a wonderful and supportive husband, a beautiful son and awesome stepchildren.  My friends and family are invaluable and I never miss an opportunity to tell them so. I am now a small business owner of Inspirationally Speaking, LLC and I am excited for what is to come.
     My life experiences and how I turned lemons into lemonade is the recipe I intend to share.  If things don't work out, at least I can say I have no regrets, learned from my failures and again share those with others.  Besides, I believe that personal growth and development is achieved through our trials, tribulations and triumphs.

Jennifer Foxworthy