Tag Archives: Appreciation

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

Advertisements

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 🙂

The Condition: The Bell Tolls for You Dog! Will You Answer?

21 Sep

Pavlovian Conditioning DogsLast week, I talked about the power of creating positive habits, but months, if not years, before I pondered over how easily we are conditioned and wondered if certain stimuli have the power to not only control us but consume our lives. Pavlov used a bell and food to perform his conditioning research with dogs, but many of us live by the bell, the chime, the whistle, or whatever sound we have set up for our phones or gadgets.

As cell phones started to become more prevalent, I vowed not to live by the bell. Even today I still have a pre-paid phone, yes a prepaid! This way I only use my phone for emergencies since I pay by the day. I am not consumed with constantly checking my phone to see if someone called or sent me a text message; as a result,  I have more time on my hands.   For most, the idea of having a pre-paid cell phone or just using it for emergencies is absurd, and I understand that line of thinking.  But I ask you to consider how many minutes or even hours in a day do you devote to responding to that bell which may chime several times a day?

Though I thought I escaped living by the bell, I must admit that I have not.  My iPad has been my vice.  I use a wonderful app called Baby Connect which allows me to set up alarms and timers for when it is time to feed my baby, when her diaper was last changed and even when she last slept.  I have found that I rely heavily on this tool and sometimes allow the bell to dictate when the baby can have her next feeding. Sometimes it is necessary to just use common sense if the baby is crying and showing signs that she is hungry rather than waiting for the bell to chime.  What’s interesting is that I believe the baby is starting to associate the bell chiming on my iPad with feeding time.

Amazingly, many of us, including me, are guilty of stopping in our tracks when the bell chimes to see a Facebook status update or comment, a reminder to complete a task or go to an appointment, a text message or a email message.  Even if there is an intense conversation, a heart to heart moment or just something requiring all of our attention, some of us are controlled by the bell and must stop to see what it is about this time.

I’ve been purposefully reconditioning myself to not necessarily ignore the bell but to not feel the need to immediately jump up and respond to it as soon as it chimes.  Is the ding controlling your life? Will you be able to resist the urge to drop everything and respond the next time the bell tolls for you?

All the best,

Tanya

Please! Say Thank You for What?

24 Aug

Thank-you-post-it“Excuse me sir, sir…” He sped up his pace as though I was a criminal trying to accost him. Out of breath and panting a little as I hurriedly moved up the aisle on the Regional Rail Train, I gestured with his nearly $200 monthly trail pass in my hand, “Your trail pass sir, you left your trail pass!” Finally, he turned around upon reaching the exit of the train, took the pass out of my hand and headed off of the train without a smile, a thank you or even a head nod to suggest that he was grateful for my act of kindness.

Though this was a few years ago I still can recall how upset I was. Actually, I was angry; the nerve of this man not offering me a sincere thank you! But then I thought about one of the vocabulary words I learned from my sophomore year in high school: altruism, which is the act of giving and being kind for the sake of giving, not because you expect anything in return. I can’t do things, be they small or large, expecting gratitude from others but because it is in my heart and the right thing to do.

As much as I try to embrace this line of thinking, it is not always easy to abide by it. Yes, it makes me feel good to help someone out, but it makes me feel even better when the person acknowledges it. I wonder, am I the only one who gets a little annoyed when I hold open a door for several people, and not one person says thank you. What about when there’s a lot of traffic, but I slow down to let that one car in as traffic is merging and do not get the “thank-you-for-letting-me-get-in-hand-wave?”

Sadly, I am finding that more and more people are far from gracious or do not deem it necessary to offer a thank you. Some people have the, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” mentality and choose to meet rudeness with rudeness. I understand this take, but instead I have chosen to be even more gracious and come up with ways to demonstrate it and be a shining example for my daughter and anyone with whom I may come in contact because I want her to learn that please and thank you can go a long way.

Thanks for reading 😉

All the best,

Tanya

We’re All Made to Matter: Tribute to My Dear Friend Sandy

23 Aug

Four_Fundamental_States_of_MatterEverything around us, regardless of how large or small it may be, truly matters.  To demonstrate this, if you take the preposition in the title of this post “to” and change it to “of,” it completely changes the meaning of the sentence. Even the definition of matter depends upon the context of the sentence.

Matter can be a solid, liquid, gas or plasma; this of course includes humans. However, I am intrigued with the idea of matter mattering. Let me explain. I have seen how my actions, be they simple or complex, can impact someone’s life in a positive or maybe even a negative way (of course this is never my intention) and how people can do the same for me.  This is especially true when it comes to family, friends and coworkers.

Sandy and Me

Sandy and Me at her Son’s First Birthday Party

Someone who mattered to me was my dear friend and office mate Sandy.  Sadly, she lost her two year battle with colon cancer late yesterday evening, and when I think about how she lived her life and how she impacted the lives of others, I find it hard to believe that we, as well as our actions, do not all matter.  She was such a caring person who willingly showed me the ropes when I was first hired as a full-time tenure track professor and welcomed me to the office, literally, with open arms (she gave me a big hug) saying, “It’s so wonderful to meet you Tanya.”  That interaction alone mattered as I was feeling anxious and intimidated as a tenure track faculty member and trying to find my way. Inviting me into her home to meet her family and to even film the first birthday parties of her two little boys also mattered.  Coming into the office to a surprise box of marshmallow peeps (one of my guilty pleasures) courtesy of Sandy made me feel like I matter. There are many more instances, but I will keep it at these three.

She, being the selfless, humble and giving person that she was, never thought twice about helping me or anyone else out. How brave she was as she fought the great fight, never complained and always looked on the bright side!  I often told her how inspirational she was and how I admired her positive outlook on life.  It breaks my heart that I will be starting this semester without my friend and office mate and that her husband will be left without his wife and her two little boys will be left without their mommy, but I am grateful that I was able to tell her how much she mattered to me while she was still here. Please be sure to tell those you care about how much they matter to you. Though I am certain that you, along with your actions, matter to someone too, if no one has told you how much you matter, then allow me to say, “You do matter!”

All the best,

Tanya