Tag Archives: Journey

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

I’m All for Seasons!

11 Jan

Tanya ActingThis was one crazy week of winter weather with a high of 8 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday to a high of 61 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday with the occasional snow, sleet, freezing rain or rain shower throughout the week. While some people complained about the cold and longed for warmer weather, others complained about the rain and unseasonably warm weather today.

For me, this weather is an excellent analogy of life’s experiences. Who doesn’t want the weather and seasons to be predictable? Who doesn’t become upset when the meteorologist gets it wrong? This is understandable, but there is something to learn from this erratic weather we’re having. It helps prepare us for the seasons of life: how quickly something can go from cold to hot or from what seems like never-ending rain to sunshine.

As much as I would love to live in a place where it’s always sunny and never cold, the four seasons have taught me so much, especially when spring makes and appearance in the winter.

All the best,

Tanya

The Journey Continues with Baby Steps

4 Jan

Quinn Stages 1 - 8One of my goals for the new year was to start a second blog dedicated to my journey as a new mommy.  There truly is so much to learn in so little time, but sharing my thoughts always helps me through the learning process.   Maybe they will help someone else as well. Baby Quinn has been my muse as she constantly grows and reaches milestones within a blink of an eye. I am extremely excited about my blog, “Mommy’s Baby Steps” and hope that you will occasionally stop by to check it out. Though I will still be composing posts about my journey of finding me on this blog, I am eager to provide  DIY projects, ways I’ve been saving money as a new mom, the many dilemmas I face, what I’m learning and the adventures of baby Quinn and 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

The Frozen Door of Opportunity Just Won’t Open!

14 Dec

Frozen Car DoorWho hasn’t heard the phrase, “When opportunity knocks, answer the door?” or “When the door of opportunity opens, be ready to walk through it?”  Not many people talk about what to do when the door is “technically” open yet frozen shut making it difficult to open. Well, I now have first-hand knowledge with this experience and can offer a couple of tips.

This past Tuesday, it not only snowed in Philadelphia, PA and the surrounding areas, but the temperature has been well below freezing throughout the course of this week.  With this being said, even with keyless entry, my frozen car doors have not been opening with ease. So what do I do; most would answer, pull a little harder on the door handle. Initially, this may seem logical, but it is not always the best choice.  I tugged a little harder, and the door did not budge, so I yanked a bit more forcibly.  If you are heavy-handed like me, I definitely do not suggest this method as I managed to break off my rear door passenger handle pulling so hard.  Needless to say, this upset me quite a bit.  Why wasn’t I more patient?  Why didn’t I ask someone for advice on what to do to open a frozen car door or look for a Youtube video on it?  Though this is an experience I wish I didn’t have, I have been thinking about what I can learn from it.

  1. Even when a door “should” be open, you need to be mindful of your own strength.  If you break off the door handle, you will make it even more difficult to open that door of opportunity or may need to find another method to get to that opportunity.
  2. Sometimes, when we are extremely passionate about something or allow it to consume us, (I would not rest until I got the door open instead of giving a few tugs then walking away) it may bring about unexpected problems and detours on the road to opportunity.
  3. Don’t allow being ashamed if you break off the handle trying to open the door to deter you from opening other doors. Since I was younger, I’ve always been known as heavy-handed and as a bit of a klutz.  I was so embarrassed when I broke off the handle and still am, but I am grateful it was not the driver side door nor the front passenger side door. Also,m I can still get to my destinations.

I am glad that I was able to take this experience and apply a life-lesson and hope that it may help others who are trying to open up those frozen doors.

All the best,

Tanya

The Power of Three Wonderful Years of Blogging!

7 Dec

ThreeClick your heels three times!  You have been granted three wishes! Three is the magic number!  Today is my third anniversary of blogging. Though my journey has just begun, I am happy with the progress I’ve made.  It feels wonderful to have connected with fellow bloggers and people who simply have an interest in my musings and epiphanies; hopefully I have made a positive impact as well. Here’s to many more years of to come with discovering me through blogging.

All the best,

Tanya

Baby “Say” My Name….Please

30 Nov

Quinn Victoria FranklinWatching my baby reach her milestones is thrilling, especially the imminent  uttering of her first words. To prep Quinn for this moment to say “my name” first, I’ve been speaking in third person, pointing in the mirror or at pictures letting her know I am Mama. When I use the American Sign Language sign for mother and say “mama,” she often smiles as though she knows what I am saying.  So when she started babbling, I just knew Quinn was going to be an anomaly and in her high pitch voice bellow out that sweet sound I’ve been longing to hear, “Mama.”

Sadly, all of my hard work hasn’t paid off yet, and Quinn has decided to follow the masses of babies who follow tradition driving mommies around the world nuts  with the easier phonetic sound “da da da da da da.” Every day all day it’s “da da da da da da da da.” I grimace trying to put on a real smile and encourage her since I know  at this stage it is indiscriminate, and she is just trying out sounds. Of course, I am grateful that Quinn has such a wonderful, loving and present father who is her sole caretaker when I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it’s hard sometimes to not cajole her into saying “ma ma ma ma ma ma” instead of “da da da da da da.”

Yesterday, she started saying “na na na na na,” which her Nana will be proud to hear, so “mama” should be on the way soon.  As much as I want her to say my name, I have a feeling that there may come a time when I may be driven nuts because Quinn won’t stop saying, “mama, mama, mama.” Regardless, I can’t wait!

All the best,

Tanya

Life: What My Baby Senses…

23 Nov

Tanya Franklin & Baby QuinnMy baby girl gazes at me, touches my face, strokes my hair or grabs anything else within reach.  She savors her sweet potatoes, apples or bananas grasping the spoon to get more. Listening intently, she responds to her name and other stimuli. The smell of her poopy diapers and gas (which can smell like a grown man) does not faze her at all. Though I’m in awe at how quickly she’s growing in her first half year, I’m amazed at how she is able to operate at a level where she can take everything in slowly and become immersed in what she is doing. Observing Quinn makes me wonder why do so many adults fly through life without sensing it?

Sight: We’ve been here for a couple of decades or longer but struggle to gaze into the eyes of the person or people we claim to love with the same warmth a baby who has only been here for a few months can offer.

Touch: I love that my baby is so fascinated with my face and wants to explore it with those drooly little fingers.  For some people, it has been years since they have experienced subtle touches  that convey affection (minus the drool of course).

Taste: We are in a rush eating our meals on the run, wolfing down our food without really tasting and enjoying it like a baby might (minus the messiness of course).  When I feed Quinn, I make sure she has swallowed her food before I give her another spoonful, but on occasion I’m guilty of not completely chewing and swallowing my food before putting another piece in my mouth. I find that I have more enjoyment in eating when I take my time.

Hear: Sometimes there is an overwhelming amount of mind chatter or distractions around us, and we’re unable to listen to our inner voices.  Most babies, especially mine, has no problem listening to her inner voice that says, “I’m happy,” I’m hungry,” “I’m sleepy,” or “I’m just in need of some attention.” Nevertheless, there are times when I don’t listen to that voice telling me,”You’re taking on too much,” “You’re hungry” or “You need some ‘me’ time.”

Smell: Though there are benefits to smelling, I wish I was able to not get caught up in the “smell” as Quinn is capable of doing. It’s difficult to resist the aroma of certain unhealthy foods luring me, and some odors have been pungent enough to stop me in my tracks, distracting and preventing me from doing the task at hand.

Quinn has taught me  several lessons I plan on applying to my life, and I sense that there are many more learning opportunities to come courtesy of my baby girl!

All the best,

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