Tag Archives: Appreciation

The Touch of Life After Death

1 Mar

touch-of-life-michelangeloHaving the occasional brush with death has caused me to have an even greater appreciation for life. But sometimes it is not the brush with death but learning about the life of another person after his or her death that encourages me to live life to the fullest and have a positive impact on others. Today, I attended the memorial service of my good friend’s mother who passed away from cancer. I never had the opportunity to meet her, but after attending such a lovely service, I could feel her spirit and came to know how wonderful she was within just a couple of hours.

Something that moved me was how consistent she was. Oftentimes, people are one way with their family and friends, another way in their romantic lives and a totally different way in their professional lives. This lovely woman was compassionate in all aspects of her life. Not just her family, but her friends and co-workers spoke so highly about her. The reverend who gave to eulogy used the word “authentic” to describe her and focused on how she was willing to help anyone in need.

Sometimes we may all get caught up in our daily lives, but it’s moments like these that really make me want to be a better person and to be even more conscientious about making my daily interactions with not just those people I know personally but people in general to be positive and meaningful. It’s amazing how someone’s death, a sad moment, can spark hope and compassion in the lives of the living. Dealing with the death of loved ones is never easy, but if and when you have to, I hope that you will be able to add something something positive to the lives of others.

All the best,

Tanya

The DIY (Destination is Yours)

25 Jan
Home Show 2014: Ahmed Hassan, baby Quinn and Tanya Franklin

Home Show 2014: Ahmed Hassan, baby Quinn and Me

Last week, I went to the Philadelphia Home Show excited to attend  Ahmed Hassan’s presentation. He’s the former host of the hit show  from  the DIY Network, “Yard Crashers,” so I had a few questions about my yard and secretly hoped to be granted a free botanical masterpiece. Though no yard makeovers were given, he offered the audience something else, something special.

Ahmed  passionately and candidly discussed what roads he took to get to where he is today.  I found it to be quite admirable of him to disclose not only his triumphs but struggles with us prior to answering questions about landscaping or the excitement that comes with being a TV host. Listening to him made me feel like I am on the right path.  Many people get so caught up in where they are in life, yet they may not know or even consider what it took to get there.

Even in knowing where we would like to end up, it’s tricky because some maps are still being drawn out as we carry out our journeys; there are hills, valleys and terrain yet to be discovered.  As we come across them, we will eventually realize how they helped us get a littler closer to where we want to be, which is absolutely wonderful to me.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson profoundly stated, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Thanks Ahmed for reaffirming this for me.

All the best,

Tanya

Happy “Old” Year: Almost Gone But Never Forgotten 2013!

28 Dec

Happy Old YearWithout fail, as each year draws to a close, I hear several people exclaim that they either cannot wait for the year to be over or for the new one to begin so they can have a fresh start. Many of us come up with resolutions for the new year, vow to do away with a bad habit or to start a good one, but how many of us reflect on the happy moments and achievements of the “old” year? We often let the negativity, misfortune or mishaps cast a dark shadow on all of the wonderful moments we’ve experienced. I refuse to fall into this trap. No matter how large or small the experience, I would like to shout with enthusiasm, “Happy Old Year!”

Thanks 2013; you’ve been extremely good to me. Just to highlight a few moments, I had a healthy, beautiful baby girl and celebrated my second anniversary with my awesome husband. In such a short duration of time, I’ve learned so much from motherhood and am able to apply it to many aspects of my life. The experience has also brought my husband and me even closer together and further strengthened the foundation of our marriage. Thanks for giving me more time with my family so that I may have an even greater appreciation for them. I am grateful for you giving me the opportunity to develop bonds with new friends while giving me the strength to let go of those whose season has passed. After five years of hard work, I’ve achieved tenure as an assistant professor and had two invigorating semesters where I was able to make a positive impact on my students.

Dearest 2013, though I am looking forward to 2014 and the years to come, you will always have a happy, memorable place in my heart.

All the best,

Tanya

I “Heart” Christmas Baby!

21 Dec

2013-12-06 19.57.55Exactly one year ago, my husband and I found out we were having a little girl. Shortly thereafter, the doctor informed us that the baby had a fetal heart arrhythmia and wanted us to schedule an appointment to have a fetal echo performed immediately. This was not the early Christmas present I was hoping for.

With angst, I spent the rest of my pregnancy going to appointments twice a week riding the emotional roller coaster as the diagnosis would worsen improve then worsen again while I prayed and hoped that my unborn child would be okay. With only having a few close family members and friends knowing what I was experiencing, it was extremely difficult to keep smiling and remain positive, but I did for the sake of my baby.

Miraculously, the fetal heart arrhythmia disappeared, and baby Quinn has had no health issues. This holiday season, I could not be happier. My husband believes that I have went overboard with gifts for her first Christmas. Admittedly, I have because now it is just my heart that skips a beat each time I think about how blessed I am to be her mother.

Happy holidays to you and yours,

Tanya

Case #1: Judge versus the Jury

16 Nov

judge-orders-“Only God can judge me! People are always hating! No one asked for your opinion! It’s my life!” are phrases most people have uttered or at least heard uttered at some point in their lives. Lately, I’ve been scrutinizing my own actions and think a trial is in order.

Though I try my best to be positive, supportive and motivational, there have been times when I’ve been accused of judging and wonder if those accusations were valid and if I should be concerned with being perceived as a judge. Needless to say, I am apprehensive about being a judge, but how can I live life without judging? Just about everything involves it; from grading papers to taking time to evaluate my own actions, I cannot escape it.  Judging is one of the ways that we are able to improve ourselves and quality of life and to make sure we are on the right track.

I often wonder why it is acceptable and even welcomed when people are judged in a positive way such as a compliment about an outfit, hair, performance at work, parenting skills, etc..  Who ever stops people and questions why they are judging them when it is something positive? Of course,  when people point out any flaws or shortcomings, most would dismiss them as unwelcome judgments and suggest that these people mind their own business.

When it comes to the justification of judging, I think it is always important to consider the intention of the person who is playing the role of the judge and the significance this person has on your life.  Is the person trying to lift you up or tear you apart? Regardless if the judgment is negative or positive, is it being presented in a kind and caring way or cruel and insensitive?

It is important to consider if you are deflecting the real issue by focusing on this “so-called judge.” Why is it that whenever we are called out on something negative or counterproductive, like being procrastinators, habitually late or even harshly judging others with hurtful intentions, we are upset when somebody has the audacity to judge us? Why can’t it be that they love us and hold us accountable for our actions or to a higher standard than we may hold ourselves?  If everyone only provided positive judgments, would simply relying on how we judge ourselves be adequate? Sometimes, how we judge ourselves and see ourselves is way off base, and we need those “judges,” who God may place in our lives, to hold up those mirrors and reflect back what we refuse to see is really there.

As I take some time to deliberate further, please feel free to share your views on this touchy topic.

All the best,

Tanya

Divided by the Mathematics

9 Nov

math_20funRecently, I was playing an arithmetic game on the Lumosity web site (which I highly recommend to anyone looking to exercise his or her brain).  As the rain drop equations began to fall, forcing me to answer as quickly as possible before they hit the ground, I experienced an “aha moment.”  Though I’ve always been good at math, even placing in calculus when I started college, it takes me a bit longer to process subtracting and dividing than it does adding and multiplying. I tried to recall what I learned how to do first: was it addition or subtraction? Regardless, I am an adult now, and those skills have been ingrained in me, even without a calculator for basic math, yet this small thought-provoking moment caused me to evaluate many aspects of my life.

Many of us have no problem shopping for new clothes, shoes or whatever it is we may want, but when it comes time to get rid of some items already in the closet, it can be difficult and require quite a bit of deliberating on whether or not something should be given away or thrown away because we still might wear that shirt we purchased five years ago that still has the price tag on it.  Then when we have no choice but to pare down our wardrobe we wind up mistakenly getting rid of that one outfit we loved so much because it got lost in the pile.

For those people on social media sites, we all have those friends who might have just been added after an encounter at an event, may just be a friend of a friend, or friend of a family member who we may never see in person again. Interestingly, we may not have a problem adding more of these types of friends to the list.  However, we may struggle to purge those “real life” friends who may be toxic and not have our best interests at heart. Then the new year comes, and we decide it is time to get rid of the remainder of  those “so-called” friends who add nothing to our lives. With haste, we regretfully cut ties with someone whose friendship meant so much to us and cannot get back what was swiftly taken away.

It would be so much more simple if we could all just take pleasure in adding something meaningful to the lives of others. Are some of us often divided because we’re always concerned with adding more than I take away. Am I the only one who is doing this kind of math?

All the best,

Tanya

It’s Hard Out Here for a Mom!

2 Nov

2013-10-26 09.24.14I cannot believe my baby girl will be six months tomorrow.  This past half year has been full of excitement, and I am truly embracing motherhood.  Prior to even becoming pregnant, some people would say with sarcastic tones in their voices , “Wait until you become a mother!” or ask, “Are you sure you want to be a mother?”  Though I thrive on being positive and have never questioned whether or not I made the right decision becoming a mother, there is no denying that it can be hard out here for a mom!  I think about how blessed I am to have a flexible teaching schedule  that allows me to spend most of the week with my daughter.  It saddens me to know that many mothers do not have that luxury.  In order to provide for their children, some mothers must work from very early in the morning until late in the evening only seeing their children for dinner, bath and bedtime, sometimes not even for those daily routines.

Having the support of my husband and extended family makes me have an even greater admiration for mothers who are raising their children alone and doing everything in their power to make it work.  Something that always amazes me is how some single mothers make raising children look so easy and almost effortless.  Kudos to you all, and keep putting in that hard work!  I am sure you will reap what you sow within your children 😉

All the best,

Tanya

Is My Birth Just Another Day?

11 Oct
Tanya H Franklin

Celebrating My Birthday in 2012

Today is my birthday.  No, it’s not a national holiday, mail is still delivered, stores are still open, and sorry folks, people are still expected to go to work. Regardless, this is still my special day!  Sometimes I hear people say with a ho hum attitude about their own birthdays, “It’s just another day,” but is it really?

Having a baby has caused me to reevaluate how I view birthdays.  Even though I have always looked forward to my birthday, especially as a child, I am not one of those people who has a week long celebration.  But why not? Better yet, why not celebrate it everyday?  This is not coming from a place of pretentiousness but from the idea of rejoicing and being happy to be here and have the gift of life. There doesn’t have to be cake and ice cream or a party everyday; just taking a few minutes out of each day to be grateful and to think about ways to improve my life is how I want to celebrate.

My birthday symbolizes the day I made a grand entrance into the world and forever changed the lives of my parents. A birth, for me, serves as hope for the future.  As my mother held me in her arms, I am sure she wondered what I would become and prayed that I would make a difference.  I hope I have made her proud and have made the day of my birth have meaning as I make my contributions to society. Five months ago, I held my daughter in my arms and wondered how her birth might impact the world as well, and I look forward to celebrating many birthdays with her.

Even though I am just another face among billions and billions of others, some who actually might share my birthday, I refuse to believe that my birth is just another day, even if no one acknowledges it but me. With absolute certainty, I can say that my mother would not refer to going through labor and giving birth to me or my siblings as just another day, so why would I refer to my birthday as such? I hope you do not view your birth as just another day because without that day we would not have you ;-)!

All the best,

Tanya

Hi Stranger! Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

28 Sep

IMG_0036Do you speak to strangers? Yes, most of our parents warned us about speaking to them, but I truly believe if more of us spoke to strangers, the world, or just our own neighborhoods would be much more pleasant environments. I know it might sound corny and like something from “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” but I enjoy saying, “Hello,” “Hi” or “Good morning” to people with a smile on my face and in the tone of my voice.  Have you ever noticed how most children, even before they can walk or talk, are so eager to say hi and wave their hands vigorously until the person(s) they are saying hi to responds?  Though that might be kind of creepy if adults did that, the simple gesture of saying hello and being happy to see and greet a person you do not know is cool to me.

Something I have been doing for the past few of years is making a conscious effort to greet people and hopefully brighten up their day for even a millisecond with a cheerful “Good morning!” Interestingly, many people are in such a rush and don’t even look up from texting while walking to say hello, not that friendly and grumble back a response or just prefer not to even be bothered and avoid eye contact so that they do not have to even acknowledge the person attempting to greet them.  Regardless, I am going to keep on saying hello because as Will Rogers said, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.”

All the best,

Tanya

6(000) Degrees of Separation and counting…

22 Sep

Tanya Harris FranklinYesterday, I noticed that I was close to 6000 views on my blog and was amused this morning to see that I am at 6000 views exactly.  I started this blog a few years ago, so 6000 may not seem like a lot, but it is to me.  It feels good to know that I am connecting with others and hopefully putting out some positive energy and information people want to read about or just merely peruse.

Something that is awesome is how I can view my statistics and see not just how many people have viewed my blog posts but from where in the world they reside.  Most recently, the post receiving views almost everyday from places all around the globe such as Malaysia, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, India, the Netherlands, Italy and a few others is my Profound Hip Hop Quote post on A Tribe Called Quest.  It seems that I am not the only one who is hoping they will go on a tour and longing to see Q-Tip and Phife back on stage together.

Who knows, maybe I will reach 10,000 views by the end of the year, but even if I do not receive one more view from this point forward, I am honored that 6000 people, some who I may know and others I may never physically come in contact with or met personally, stopped by to have a glimpse at my daily musings.

All the best,

Tanya

P.S.  Thanks for stopping by 🙂