Tag Archives: Tanya Harris

Another Journey: Sh#t My Puppy Taught Me

3 Jan
A Life Lesson from Zack the Toy Poodle Puppy

Almost five months ago, we welcomed a toy poodle puppy into our family. At the time, he was just two months old, but from the very beginning, he’s taken me on a journey I didn’t anticipate. How is it that this little guy, who isn’t even a year old, could teach me so much without even having the ability to talk. So I figured, why not share some of the wisdom I’ve obtained in a post series I call “The sh*t my puppy taught me,”

Here’s a lesson I learned almost immediately from Zack:

Just because you don’t see it, if you stop and observe your surroundings, you’ll quickly realize there’s sh*t all around us!

No one, including me, wants to step in it. Unfortunately, there’s some dog owners who don’t even bother to pick it up. I’ve come across my fair share of poo on our daily walks,and some of it is huge, and I wonder how could the owner leave that behind!? But in life, how many people leave there mess behind for others to clean up. Yes, over time, the rain might wash it away, or maybe it’ll work as some type of fertilizer, but if only everybody cleaned up after their sh#t, would we all have todo with less mess? That’s something to think about. Thanks for the lesson, Zack!

All the best,

Tanya

The Nice, Naughty and Forty Journey Begins!

4 Nov

I know I’ve been MIA and have been negligent in chronicling my journey. A good bulk of my attention has been going to my Mommy’s Baby Steps page and my daughter’s flourishing YouTube channel. But I’ve prolonged my personal journey for long enough, and I’m back! Not only am I excited about it, but my seven year old is too! Just a couple of weeks ago, she cheered and gave me a huge hug, “Your podcast got approved! This is so exciting, Mommy! Maybe I can be a special guest one day!” I really enjoy helping my daughter put together videos for her YouTube channel, but I’ve been wanting to do something for myself too for quite some time. I’ve been hesitant about putting together my own YouTube channel because out of nervousness and just having all eyes on me, so the next best thing is a podcast. After months of talking about it, my best friend and I decided to dive into together.

Tanya, the nice one!

Our podcast is called Nice, Naughty and Forty? I’m the “nice one.” I’ve been married to a great guy for nearly ten years and have a sweet seven year old daughter. I struggled with being shy and passive well into young adulthood, but becoming a mother and entering my 40s have both helped me to be more outgoing and assertive. I love helping others. Random acts of kindness for my family, friends and even people I don’t know gives me pleasure. I’m far from perfect, but I’m always looking for ways to be a better version of myself. Wondering about my “naughty” side? A small “glimpse” peeks through on occasion. As a young teen through my college years it was rapping, nothing ratchet but not “Mickey Mouse” rap either. I was told that I went from David Banner to Incredible Hulk when I was in my rap mode. In my 40s, that aggressive “naughty side” comes out with kickboxing. Some of my fit fam members say I’m nice, but they see that beast come out when the bag round starts and know to get out of my way 😅.

Michelle, the naughty one!

Michelle is the naughty one. She’s a mother of two handsome, smart and respectful sons. She’s been divorced now for two years and struggling with this new dating scene. She hasn’t dated since the 90s, lol. Michelle works for the City of Philadelphia, as a Business Services Manager. She loves everything about fashion; to be fashionable you do not have to be dripping in designer digs. She loves the details, accessories are everything and change your entire look. Michelle loves life and everything about it; you must take the downs to make it to the ups 😉.

Though I love being a mom and blogging about that journey, I’m looking forward to having a platform with my best friend, Michelle to discuss topics on being nice, naughty and forty! We’ll be dishing on relatable topics and hope to get some insight from you too! You don’t have to be in your forties to listen to and enjoy the podcast or participate in our group. We’re all in this together and look forward to interacting with all ages and getting to know your perspectives 😉.

We’re on Amazon Music, Apple Podcast and Spotify too. You can also listen directly from our website. Spread the word! Thanks for your support. Please share, join our Facebook group, Nice, Naughty and Forty, and follow us on Instagram @nice.naughty.40

Nice, Naughty and Forty

All the best,

Tanya

Preparing for the Fall in the Winter

22 Feb

slipThere’s a longing for the spring as flowers die and leaves wither from trees. The anticipation for the summer builds as frigid temperatures freeze us to the core and pure white snow morphs into muddy slush, reflecting the depression some experience after days of cabin fever and darkness by 4 pm. If this is not enough, as much as we may try, we cannot always prepare for the fall in the winter. Too many of us take part in the dance where we flail our arms about with our feet slipping and sliding atop of ice patches that seem to randomly appear during our daily journeys.

This past Wednesday, I did a quick two step and took a dip that left me with a sprained wrist.  As I type this post primarily with my left hand, the less dominant one, I wonder how many more others are nursing their winter injuries that range from minor bumps and bruises to broken bones and even concussions. More importantly, as difficult as it may be, I hope those people are not allowing those injuries from the falls to take away their optimism. Put on a happy face; sunnier and warmer days are ahead. That’s my motto!

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

Habits to Factor

14 Sep

HabitWhen a person says, “I got a habit,” most automatically associate it with something negative?  “Habit Factor” by Martin Grunburg did an excellent job touching on how habits can be negative or positive in relation to achieving goals.  Ever since I can remember, I’ve always set forth goals to achieve.  A major reason I started this blog is actually to have a place to discuss my journey and share some of my musings and goals.  In an effort to live my best life while hopefully impacting the lives of others in a positive way, I decided to become more cognizant of my actions and daily routines. This allows me to make sure my actions (or habits) are in alignment with my goals and the person I claim to be.

For instance, one of my most recent goals was not just to reclaim my pre-pregnancy body (I just had a baby on May 3, 2013) but to have a healthy lifestyle.  So I first determined what habits would put me on the right path and began tracking how consistent I was. Rather than saying, I am not going to eat junk food, I thought about what I was going to do, such as meditating, drinking a minimum of eight cups of water a day, eating a minimum of seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and walking and exercising five to six days a week.

I can be quite competitive, especially with myself, so tracking my habits makes me want to push myself even further.  If I see that I had seven servings of fruits and vegetables all last week, I will try to make it eight for the following week.  Also, the accountability is there. Sometimes we all get so busy and do not realize how much time has passed since we have last worked out after we set forth the goal.  Logging the information gives me the data I need to have tangible evidence on why I have or have not achieved my goal.

Since I started tracking my habits with my healthy lifestyle back in July of this year, I lost 16 1/2 pounds, putting me about three pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight and lost a total of 18 inches from my waist, hips, thighs and arms. I feel more energized and am motivated to keep up these good habits.

Many of us question why our lives have or have not taken certain courses but do not always look at our habits (actions) to determine how significant they are in why we are where we are.  Even though there are instances where circumstances arise that are out of our control, our habits are not.  We typically control those.  The next time you question why you are struggling to reach your goal, consider your habits.  They truly can reveal a lot and certainly did for me.

All the best,

Tanya 

Do I Have to Spell it Out for You?

31 Aug

Misspelling

Where is the “Cutomer” Service Desk?

While many people, especially those forty and under say, “Why do I need to know how to spell? I got spell check and auto correct,” I am trying to come up with ways to get students under my “spell” stressing the importance of not only spelling correctly but proofreading for often confused words and grammar issues as I prepare for the fall 2013 semester. It really can impact one’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

Of coarse, sum people take it fir granite that spell check will catch there miss stakes. Than they submit there resumes wit misspellings and wander why they don’t be gettin called in for intervues. They might be gud at wat dey do and have a grate work ethic, but the resume screener ain’t gonna get past the spelling issues cuz ain’t nobody got time fa that!

Even if you get the job u mite confuse costumers with ur mis spellings, text language and confused wurds like dis photo of da advertised posting i snapped looking to hire people at the local supermarket. We all know that auto core (this was supposed to say’ “auto correct,”but that is what auto correct came up with ;-)) don’t be always sayin wat we wanna say, so why not proofread? or is it that people be bein lazie and say, “u no wat i mean!”

Is spelling correct a dying art along with grammer, mechanics and basic proofreading as moor and more people simply except misspellings as da nu standard? Admittedly, I think its cool to use slang and text language cuz it is a language in and of itself, but the ability to cold switch, composing documents free of misspellings, grammar an mechanical errors for professional purposes or even to git ya point a cross clearly, is essential.

i refuse to believe that i am a loan wit dis concern and dat standard english and spelling words correctly will one day be considered archaic and that I will than be come a english historian providing in cite on wat once wuz. u kno wat i mean?

Best,

Tanya

PS. I hope you noticed the plethora of misspellings and grammer issues in dis post. Wich ones did u spot? Were there times wen u paused to figure out wat i meant cuz of the misspellings?  Du i got u under my spell?

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

Baby I Got This: Watch Me Handle My Goals!

17 Aug

Quinn V. Franklin

“Sometimes you’ve got to think outside of the box,” people say.  This especially applies to achieving difficult, new or what seems to be unattainable goals that require a steadfast approach, but many of us do not actually apply this concept.  Is this because the ability to “think outside of the box” is innate; either you are adept in this area or not?

Watching my baby girl Quinn tackle one of her first goals of getting her pacifier back in her mouth is what got me pondering about this.  Though she is three and a half months now (15 weeks and one day to be exact), rather than just put the pacifier in her mouth when she cries and screams for it, I will guide her hand to put it in her mouth or put her hand on the pacifier while it is in her mouth to hold it there, which is something I observed her doing for the first time when she was just a little over a month old.  I will say, “You hold” or “Use your hand” to help her make the association with words. The idea is to give her a chance to figure it out on her own and to see what she is capable of doing.

Quinn V. Franklin

Quinn holding in her pacifier all by herself

However, in the past few weeks, I noticed that Quinn was not simply using her hand to retrieve the pacifier, but she was using her bib or receiving blanket to assist her with pushing it back in her mouth, which is something she has been doing more and more frequently on our morning stroller walks.  How creative is that!?  If I automatically just put the pacifier back in her mouth, I would not have witnessed Quinn’s innate ability to “think outside of the box.”    No one taught her this technique she uses to retrieve the pacifier, and she certainly did not see another baby do it.  She just reached a point where she either did not want to wait patiently for someone else to put it back in, was acting out of frustration or just said, you know what, let me see if I can do this on my own.

When it comes to achieving goals, regardless of how small or large, I typically follow what I was taught to do.  Even though this is not necessarily a bad thing, I wonder how much more successful I would be at achieving my goals if I went more with instincts and what comes natural?  There truly are some benefits to being new to the world and seeing everything with fresh eyes.  Come to think of it, babies do not have to think outside of the box because they do not even know that this “box” exists!  Thanks so much baby Quinn for helping me consider new, innovative ways to achieve my goals!  I just had to share this epiphany with others and hope this idea has you (potential readers of this entry) thinking outside of the box too!

Best,

Tanya

Relax Her? She’s Just a Baby!

10 Aug

2013-08-05 10.35.50

“I see Quinn’s hair has turned from straight to a curly little afro. She’s going to need a relaxer soon” is what I was told most recently in a joking way.  Though I laughed it off in an effort to not be overly sensitive, I did not see the humor in this person’s observation, just the implications that come along with such a statement.

Was this person suggesting that straight hair is beautiful, but curly hair is ugly? It made me think about Chris Rock’s 2009 documentary “Good Hair” and how much of an impact this obsession with not just hair but looks in general has on all people, but definitely females. I mean, even a three month old baby girl does not get a pass!

Almost fifteen years ago, I decided to stop getting relaxers to straighten my hair because I like the versatility of being able to wear it curly or straight if I wish. Plus it is much healthier. Initially I struggled with feeling comfortable wearing my hair in whatever “natural” style I wanted in certain settings for some time, but I am finally able to appreciate my natural beauty and not as caught up in how I am perceived by mainstream society.

It is up to me to lead by example. My hope is to teach my little girl to embrace her natural beauty and to not develop a complex or be apprehensive about rocking an afro, twist out, even dread locks or straight if she prefers.  Should she choose to apply chemicals to her hair to make it straight or a different color, I want it to be because she wants to do it, not because it is necessary in order to be considered attractive or to fit in with what is considered acceptable.

How would you or did you address this issue with your child. Please feel free to share.

All the best,

Tanya