17 Sep 40 Days of My 40 Favorites in Honor of My 40th Birthday
You are about to go on a journey. A graphic look at 40 of my favorite things in honor of my 40th birthday. The text is sprinkled throughout to add to a blissful experience. Celebrate with me using #40Bliss in my honor and share your 40.
I have been writing since the 7th grade. I have dozens of notebooks of my Original Works of poetry, jingles, short stories, songs, and events that have impacted me in some way. Initially, I wanted to write jingles for commercials but I was determined to attend Winthrop University. Winthrop did not offer a specialization in this area so I changed my career choice.
2. Writing on purpose for your soul
Writing allows me to be creative, expressive and write the unspeakable. As a result, I am able to refocus my attention, reach goals, stay on task, and redirect negative energy. A few years ago, I began collecting journals. I’ve collected over 50 journals over the years. People who know me well often gift me with journals and I’m like a child on Christmas morning. If you want to see me smile give me a journal.
4. Childhood Pictures
I love looking through old pictures especially of myself. As a young girl, I was often teased and called all sorts of hurtful names. As a result for years, I had low self-esteem. I’ve never shared my feelings of unworthiness. I rarely smiled. I never felt pretty. I did not love myself. I barely spoke. I can remember my sweet Godmother saying “Renee you have to open your mouth and talk. It is so vivid in my memory because she rarely called me Renee. Her nickname for me was String Bean. It’s funny as I sit and write this because I just had a conversation with my daughter. I said “Armanni open your mouth and talk so people can hear what you are saying, stop mumbling.
This particular picture reminds me that I’ve come a long way. I mean I still have a big head but I’ve grown into it as people say. But this little girl is now this beautiful woman who loves herself and is fearfully and wonderfully made.
A little bit of Country, Jazz, and Hip Hop. A lot of classic R&B, Old School Rap, Gospel, and Christian music. Music instantly changes my mood. When I feel like I gotta get crunk then some of that old school Lil Kim mixed with new school Rhianna is blazing. When I need to be encouraged then Kirk Franklin or Tamala Mann is in my ear. When I need that Gospel crunk Tye Tribbett, Lecrae, or NF all inspired by my daughter, is playing. Little known fact most nights I fall asleep listening to the Luther Vandross, it’s so relaxing. I love music of all varieties and I do not limit myself to one genre. My iPod is always on Shuffle. That means my music will go from Marvin Sapp to the Notorious BIG real quick. The randomness of my music keeps me alert. This past summer I created a game called Lyrically Speaking. It required the students to research a song that will pick them up when they are down, encourage them to keep it moving when it seems the world is against them and push them to make positive moves. This song could not include any derogatory lyrics. For me, this song is Whitney Houston’s The Greatest Love of All. This song describes the purpose of the work that I do with our youth. What song is your motivation?
Instrumental music is also a favorite. Ever since seeing my friend handle her snare drum as one of the only girls on the drumline and watching a talented young man on the quads, I have always admired percussion players. I played clarinet a tradition I passed down to my daughter. Although, I had hoped she would play the drums. When I am worshiping at church and the drummer breaks out, so do I. Getting my praise on goes to a whole new level.
I have a playlist of drumline selections. When I want to hear some really good, authentic beats I put it on repeat. Can you guess one of my favorite movies? Yes, Drumline only because of the band scenes and the drumline features.
The month of October. My mother and I both were born in October. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month as well as Let’s Talk Month. I was born on October 27, 1977, and oh how the angels rejoiced at my birth. My mom was born on October 6 and if it wasn’t for her birth than I would not have been born. It’s breast cancer awareness month. My mother is a breast cancer survivor. She is a fighter and one of my biggest supporters. She encourages me when I am down and always gives me motherly, godly advice. I think God for my mother every day. Let’s Talk Month – gets parents talking to their children about sex and healthy relationships. It gets children talking to their parents or other trusted adults about sex and healthy relationships. Education is key to teen pregnancy prevention. The truth of the matter is “Parents your kids already know about it. So why not give them some educated, correct, age-appropriate information to help prevent teen pregnancy?” I am the one who can do that. Shameless plug – Reach out to me www.teensbeforeparents.org. Continue to celebrate because my big 40 is almost here.
Ink pens make me happy. Different colors, designs, shapes, sizes, textures, and grips. The smoothness of the ink flow as I write gives me a sense of joy. Fine point, medium point, ballpoint, felt tip, or ink gel there is always a pen to fit my writing mood.
True story. One day my cousin and I were in the store and I told her I needed a new ink pen. So we went to the Office and School supply section of a local store. After I finally chose an ink pen my cousin asked “Renee, do you know you just spent about 20 minutes picking out one ink pen?” I smiled and said, was it really that long?”
In your life, you will have happy days and sad days. People will support you or reject your vision. Someone may upset you or surprise you and make your day. Things may not happen exactly as you have planned. This is life learning how to live and adjust to whatever comes your way.
When I am in a bad mood, I write it out. When someone has made me upset I write about it. When I am happy, I journal it. Armed with a pen in hand and a piece of paper I am free to express myself. It is the little things in life that make you smile that matters. Find your happy.
What is your favorite little thing to do? What makes you happy when you choose to be alone? When you are frustrated how do you handle it?
9. I love this look. Approaching 40 I finally made the big chop.
10-16. 40Bliss Photo Shoot
My husband crowned me with my 40th banner and tiara. I am simply blessed.
24. Mom and Dad
26. Harlem Globetrotters
Follow God’s Word
Respect one another
Enjoy God’s best
Settle- Never settle for less