19.12.13

Santa's House?

A couple nights ago she came into the kitchen...

"Mom the other day when we were at the stores I met Santa, I thought he was really nice do you think that I could go back and talk to him some more one day?"

(For the record I don't do Santa...yes Mom I am a bit of wet blanket.)

"Ummmm, ok Sal...I will see if Daddy can take you again some time."

(I also am not very good at malls)

Tonight after work she asked again.

"Mom, can me, you and Myles go to Santa's house now?"

"Sure! We will go to the mall."

"Not his work Mom, his house!...Nana said she went there and it is really nice and really fun there." (Thanks Mom!)

"His house?"

"Yes!"

"Like the North Pole?"

"Yes...drive there now!"

I got a quick glance at her big seven year old brother and his face was like let's see you get out of this one.

"It's too far but maybe another day. If you want to see him we have to go to his work...we going?" (He was looking at me like, ohhh she does believe in Santa.)

We went.

She really wanted to talk to him I wasn't sure why. (We don't even have a chimney.)

She climbed up on his lap and the Santa chats began. He was done, he kind of patted her on her head...and then she Salomed.

"So, what do YOU want for Christmas Santa?"

He kind of looked at me- "well...just some white milk and cookies."

She said, "OK!"

She jumped off his lap and ran at me...gave me a quick smile and...

"Oh! We forgot the picture!"

She dashed back and asked if she was good to take a seat again.

The nice elf woman took the picture.

It was a literal wrap.

I like my kid she's pretty sweet.

She makes me weak.

18.12.13

This Christmas

Like never before I'm looking forward to this Christmas.

I'm not sure what it is exactly...I'm not "ready" for it yet, I did score a day off though.

I feel like it's something deeper this year.

I've learned a lot over the past 12 months about what makes me and what makes me strong.

I'm thankful for my little family, humble beginning and the gift of together.

This is a poem that I wrote last year around this time...I just threw a little audio on it...enjoy and please if you dig it...share!



CJ

15.10.13

LEGACY!

HAHA...thought you might enjoy this- I called home on my lunch break this past Monday and my kids were screaming...they were watching TV and got a glimpse of Salome in a Fefe video...the short that Sal shot with CBC will be airing later this month...I'll keep you posted...did you spot her? #daymaker #cbcKids#random


25.9.13

Say what you MEAN?

We've been working on this thing where we actually make an effort to think before we talk and try to weigh our words and decide if they are the right things to say for the moment. 

We've also been working on our actions...same principal. 

My kids win most days.

I'm a work in progress. 

We're about three weeks into back to school and lunchbox drama. 

My middle son has submitted to his first  hunger strike on sandwiches. 

They prefer sushi and hot food. I'm trying to score a thermos at a good price and honestly we've just been going nonstop...so we've all been eating smoked turkey sandwiches or variations thereof constantly. 

So the other morning I opened his lunch bag and there was a yet another sandwich left from the day before. 

I yelled  called his name. 

He came. I apologized for yelling. Regrouped on the principals in practice. 

Hun? 
Why don't you eat your lunches?
They're not gross!
Yes they are the same thing everyday but you're wasting bro!!

I remembered I should give him a chance to speak before I went into chapter two of whatever I was rambling. 

He looked at me and smiled. 

"I don't really know how to say this Mom...but you need  to be more creative!"

Smh. 

Mother's child. 

Shut me up.

Cucumber rolls next week. 

I love him.  

CJ

10.9.13

Chocolate Cake

I honestly went to bed last night thinking about chocolate cake.

It didn't consume me but I was hoping
to cross paths with a piece some time today...it's not my favourite thing but definitely a good and necessary thing...

ScarboroughWhen I woke up this morning it kind of dawned on me that after making lunches and taking the bus into work the cake wasn't going to happen.

There are some comparable counterfeits in the food court at my job- but I decided not to settle today...so cake would come this weekend?

The lunch I packed was strange...crackers, cookies, a banana, a cup of grapefruit and I tied it up in a plastic bag (I never tie my lunch bags for the record...)

I made my bus, squeezed on to my train (sweating the entire time...poor warm planet),  exited the station and then began my walk into my office.

There is a little tunnel near the place that I work and on some mornings you can find makeshift sleeping mats, puddles of unmentionables and the remnants of fine drink that were experienced the night before.

It's not in the heart of Toronto.  It's not even in a big business or residential area it's just a pocket in Scarborough, with a station and a field and a few dry places to catch a nap that some people kind of call home.

I never see who sleeps here, but today in the tunnel he was there with his bike.

Fast asleep...I'm sure I'd rather sleep in the daylight hours too and spend the night roused if the street was my safe place.

If I said he was sleeping like a baby I would not be lying.

He had a hat in front of him with twenty five cents placed on top of it...two dimes and one nickel.

Everyone from my train passed him, some without even a glance...I won't lie...I did...I got about 10 meters away and I felt like going back.

My experience with assuming someone is in need in the city and trying to extend a hand in the past has sometimes been a sour one.

I felt it again...go back and give him the "lunch".

Don't get me wrong I give...and I have given...but I don't like to assume and hate when people make assumptions about me based on what they see.

I didn't want to offend him maybe.

I didn't want him to reject what I had to offer?


I got over it.


I made a "180" and walked up to where he was sleeping.

My first thought was to pull the lunch bag out of my bag and leave it in front of him so he would find it when he woke up...then I reasoned mostly out of past experience...if he wakes up looks in the bag and doesn't like what he sees and throws my kids snacks in the trash...I am going to be straight upset...

So I got to where he was and...

"Excuse me!'

"Good Morning!"

"Sorry to wake you up!"

"I know it's early but excuse me...."

If my voice was deeper I may have scared the crap out of him...(I'm working on my lady tones...please kind of pardon the expression)

But he woke up...coincidentally just like my son...I saw the face of my middle boy for a moment and quickly realized we were probably around the same age.

He had the deer in the headlight look my Myles has at 7 a.m.

So I smiled.

"I'm really sorry for waking you up...was just passing by and was wondering if you wanted some breakfast...I have some cookies, crackers, some grapefruit and a banana?"

Half asleep and relatively pleased, part way lying on his back,

"I would."

"It's yours!" and I began to walk away.

He didn't say thank you...he said "God Bless You!" I turned around and caught his eye for a second and I said "You're welcome!" and continued my walk into work...my heart followed five steps behind.

I received the words he said to me.


It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, 
And He adds no sorrow to it.
Proverbs 10:22

CJ





9.9.13

Easy!

Aid:  Who's going to be first?

MyMy:  Rock, Paper, Scissors!






Keep it simple...note to self.

22.7.13

Enter Monday: afro maintenance, pen pondering, & ignorant attitudes

Dropped my kids of at camp this morning...it was a nice morning.

A few outbreaks from my big son- I didn't do his hair right?

I told him he was nine and his afro maintenance would need to be assumed by him if he was still unhappy with the work from the help.

I dropped them off at music camp...they are in for a week of steel pan, drumming, singing, guitar and a whole bunch of other goodness.

I'm thankful for committed organizations and churches in our community that offer accessible programs like this.

On my way home back down the street about to enjoy a day off of work, I pulled into the No Frills.

It is relatively empty on a Monday at 8:30 a.m.

I got a glimpse of the line- there would be no wait.  An older lady with a few things and a guy about my age with backpack and probably something he was holding in his hands in front of him because there wasn't a thing on the belt.

When I got closer I looked him in his face and I thought man this kid is BIG...he couldn't be more than 15 and out this early in the morning in the summer- good man!

She said to the him, are these yours eggs? (it was my stuff pulling up the belt ahead of him) He politely interrupted.  No, I don't have anything, but the pen that you lent me doesn't work. Do you think I could borrow another one?


He started to talk and his voice was soft and polite. Not a whisper just really calm and collected.  Not afraid of eye contact at all - you could tell he was just really young.


There was a pen in front of her cash register...she started shuffling through papers looking for another one?

I only have this other one I lose too many pens...my eyes probably went into a little bit of a squint mode because I noticed on the belt one lane over he had an application for employment that he was filling out.

This is what good kids do.

She called over to her supervisor who was making herself look busy between lanes..."Do you have a pen?  I don't want to give him this one, I lose too many."

I thought to myself..."but you'd lend him a broken one?"

The kid was standing...we were all standing within about 1.5 meter radius...without looking at the boy she says to her co-worker..."tell him to bring it back tomorrow!"

Because of the confrontations I experienced less then an hour earlier with a child a little more than half his age and some reasoning in my heart to pick my battles I made the decision not to verbally say a word.

Unfortunately my face doesn't lie ever.

So I kind of looked down until their pen pondering ended.

The same polite voice stated again..."OK, Thank you!" and he turned around squeezed past me and went to collect his paper.

My face was nothing but blank I'm sure as I stared at the cashier.

She asked me if I wanted a bag- I mostly couldn't answer. (We are usually good for at least a little small talk...she knows she was ignorant.)

While she was ringing in my stuff I turned my back to her and I got the attention of the kid looking for work.

"Excuse me? You need a pen to fill out your job application?"

He put an innocent smile on his face like God had answered his prayer- he seemed totally oblivious to the way he was just treated.

"Yes!"

"Just wait a few minutes, walk out to my car with me I have a few pens I can give you."

He smiled.

We walked out to the car.

"You looking for work?"

"Yes, with groceries."

"You don't wanna work with kids?"

"No, groceries."

"You sure? Cause I can try to call around and see if we can find you something at a camp or something?"

"No, just groceries."

I started telling him a bit about some places in the area that may be able to help him out with finding work.

I gave him the disclaimer that I wasn't too much of a weirdo, I was married and possessed a bag full of children.

He said that he could tell I wasn't that strange.

I said to him.  I wasn't trying to be nosey but when people do stuff like that to you...He looked at me like "I kinda know!"  I didn't say much else I just said "don't let them!"

I reached into my pocket and gave him all the money I had.

Disclaimer #2 "I know you're not homeless or anything just take this use it for bus fare to go to a few more places."  He was hesitant but said thanks and went back into the grocery store to fill out the application?

He is clearly a "bigger man" than I will ever be.  (You, know what I mean!)

I gave him the pen and drove back home...I pulled into the underground of my building about three minutes away and my insides were raging.  I reversed out of my spot and sat outside of No Frills...looked in the window and he was still there working on that application.

He walked out and I honked him...gave him the non-weirdo disclaimer again and offered him our phone number and told him I would see what I could find for him.

I also got his number so if you're hiring a student this summer...I know a guy.

CJ


11.7.13

It's Here! "DIENAMICS"

CBC Music mentioned this project in their July Music Preview early this month "8 Canadian Albums You Need To Listen To This Month"

I'm Glad to say it's here!

 My other half just released his project entitled DIENAMICS...If you love HIPHOP or need a dose of the fresh kind...I know you will dig this deeply!

It's a FREE download or you can stream it below.

We more than appreciate you taking the time out to listen, download and tell your circles about this super cool music coming out of the TDOT!

ENJOY!!!!

CJ 


3.7.13

In the meantime?

I got asked this question the other day.

Almost confronted by my self.

It was a difficult one to answer.
my beautiful dreamers

Because I have not always been responsible with the time that it takes to get from here to there.

We all have some hope or plan for the future.

I've set things in motion in an attempt to get mine.

But the moments between initially getting the ball rolling and apprehending the dream can be difficult.

We could relate it to a pregnancy, a giant waiting game of sorts...there is discomfort, change, growth and just a hoping that needs to happen.

We need to take care of what has been placed inside of us.

Even defend the life of our dream at times.

Because the outside may demean it.

The outside will come for your dream's life...can I encourage you to hold on and keep dreaming?

Share your dream with someone today - someone you trust...and if there is no one you trust...you can email me by clicking here.

Forget about the finances you don't have to see it accomplished and become successful in the meantime.

Do all that you can with what you have so when your next step comes you will be ready to embrace it and apply it to the manifestation of your bigger.

In my meantime, I write, I pray, I listen, I dream some more little dreams, I focus on my family and encourage them to find and start building theirs.  I give my self to relationship with people I love and revere. I find people who don't mind me rubbing off on them and I commune with people that I hope will rub off on me.

I looked up the term meantime in the dictionary and it used the word intervene when it stated it's definition.  The "intervening time"...I thought that was pretty cool.  The time that mediates, comes between, occurs and really preps us for what is to come.

(Please don't discount it!)

Progression and Movement.

Forsaking complacency and becoming married to inspiration and truth.


Recognize and value the things in your life that need to grow.

Count your time as important and make the most of every opportunity.

When it comes to You specifically- ALL of the choices you make are significant.

You are worth it!

The world needs your dream.

CJ



3.6.13

thesis


I'm impressed by the complexity of the female soul.

The words we say.
The way we say them.
The power in our sayings.

They move me.

If you heard her right you would realize that she is strong, rich and deep in spite of what your first glance or preconceived notions whispered in your ear.

Strong because she understands one day her little girl will find her strength in her.

True because one day her little girl will glean truth from her living and even recognize how she lived as the truth.

Kind because it's good and a simple manifestation of the love that makes all things right.

She makes it a habit to live and clearly say.

She understands that heart, life and growth things are all "Better Said".

CJ


24.5.13

Still Dreaming? (video)

"Still Dreaming"- Is a good place to be and I've decided that I'm OK with living in this dreamy place for a while.

I say dreamy but it is not all that dreamy.

It's a place of imagination, hoping, sometimes straight conspiring, some waiting, a fair amount of frustration and all laced with a certain anticipation (I'll work on my explanations)...I've decided it's the right place for us now.

We've been working diligently on a couple projects we are going to be rolling out in the next few months (mostly music) and at times I want them to just be DONE but on the flip side I'm learning a lot about process, patience and really just life and the fullness of it not being gained by reaching a destination but rather absorbing the entire journey.

These are hard words for me to say...but I've learned I breathe better when I don't hold my breathe and take steps to put myself out there and kind of become accountable to whoever would listen.

A couple weeks back Andre Ford of www.whatinspiresme.ca and I got to bang heads a little bit.  I wanted to share this super cool video his creativity birthed...I was inspired to say the least.

It's a poem I wrote a few years back and actually posted on the blog about 3 years ago here.

I'm a fan of cool stuff coming together accidentally on purpose...Thanks Mr. Ford!


CJ

12.5.13

Aidan's Mom


"Hi Aidan's Mom!"

I remember the day I became nameless.

It was in my son's school yard.

It had happened a few times before but it never really struck a chord.

The revelation wasn't there.

I became nameless, but never faceless or shapeless.

 Associated and covered by another who came from the inside of me.


"Aidan's Mom"


The smile on his little friend's face was sweet and sincere.

Almost like he'd seen Aidan.

He knew I'd answer when he addressed me as such.

He didn't dance around calling the right name.

He called it like he saw it...and it was.


"Aidan's Mom"


 I settled almost at that moment that life would be amazing if I never aspired to be anything more than just her...


"Aidan's Mom"


This Mother's Day and always I am counting it a privilege to be one.

I've been learning a lot about life, love and living the last couple of months.


I'm understanding better the power of purpose and perspective.


#aspiring

To all the Mommies on the planet holding it down...Happy Mother's Day!

Keep dreaming and giving and being strong. 

You're appreciated!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

CJ



8.3.13

Priceless, Matchless, Wonderful...

I grabbed my phone from my daughter the other day and was like, "Sal! You took like a million pictures of your forehead...now I have to delete them!"
 
She's three and turned around to look at me with a near tear in her eye.

"Mommy you don't think I'm (pronounced "mime") pretty?"

It took me back for a split second I know it comes...but three?

I looked at her and started to laugh.

"You have to be joking Sally! You didn't know you're the most beautiful girl in the world?"

I started to mumble parts of that Prince song (at least what I could remember).

We hugged, chatted and took some more forehead pics.

Let your daughters know they are worth it.

Priceless, Matchless, Wonderful...

Happy International Women's Day!





22.2.13

hockey hair?

The kid will not cut his hair.
Whenever we go to Grandma and Grandpa's place, I hear it:

"What are they (my husband and I of course) doing to my grandson and his pretty hair?" 

"Who combs this?"

"You don't comb this?"

(all in a mild Bajan accent)

I casually mention that by the time she has sighted his mane he has had his hair picked out...been to Sunday school and has removed and replaced his toque about 165 times earlier the same day. 

I won't lie it's sometimes a source of contention.

(pressure?)

My husband almost refuses to touch it on a morning before school.

"If you want to grow it Aid you need to learn to take care of it yourself!"

He picks at it about 7-10 minutes a morning.
his preferred tool
He's going for the gold on this one and looks like his little brother is not too far behind.

I caught myself almost begging for Aid to get a braid up a couple of weeks ago and he let me know he wasn't having it.

He wants no part of any kind of braid or twist.

He has agreed to line-ups though.

Me:  "So what are you going to do with it then...just let it grow?"

Him: "Yes!"

So I guess this is the beginning of a boy and his hair journey.

I've currently elected Grant Fuhr for hockey hair hero of the month (at least at its current length.)
Read more about Mr. Fuhr here.

What a career!


Here's a song I wrote a couple of years back it touches on the topic of esteem, the importance of family, priorities, growing up and sacrifice. 
ENJOY!



14.2.13

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

My little son unapologetically loves his friends that are girls.

My big son...not so much.

Around the big one you often have to proceed with extreme caution when mentioning non-family female members names even in his presence.

He's not having it.

At all.

Not a trace of a liking or any kind of Valentining going on if he has his way.

I'm sure if it was a different age he'd have Spanky's job as president of the little federation those 'Little Rascals' had put together many moons ago.

But my little son.

He's like....a defender of women.  (Funny right?)

I honestly don't know how else to say it.

He's a relational kid.

He loves long conversations.

Listening (if you're not rhyming off to do lists).

Playing fun games.

Long walks.

LOL - sorry.

He's the boy that buys a box of Valentine's cards writes them out for his entire class, seals them up, counts the remaining and proceeds to fill them out with the names of other kiddies from the school yard.

My big son was almost mortified when my little one started asking for the spellings of the names of girls in his class.

And my little son equally appalled when the eight year old announced that he would not be handing out Valentines cards this year because plainly he wanted no part of it (but he would still need some candy for the in class party).

LOOOLOLOLOLOL!

These boys are much like those who are raisin' them.

My husband and I are so "North and South" on things like Valentine's and celebrations that we don't quite get.

Anyway if you celebrate I hope it's an amazing Valentine's Day for you if you don't well I hope it's an Amazing Day for you period.

Make the best of it laugh and love a little today.



13.2.13

You Are My Sunshine!

My days are mostly brighter with my sunshine.

Her smile.

Her Eyes.

Her Everything.

She's even got a bite and a mild sting about her when she feels the need to bring it out.

Sassy.

Love!

The love we share, Everything!


I haven't been in the best of "spirits" as of late and she can tell.  

And I wish she couldn't.

The strength of a child.

This morning she came into my room.

Eyes Wide.

She asked me "How old are you Mommy?"

I halfway mumbled back (mostly because she repeats everything).

"What did you say Mommy?"

"32, Salome!"

And in a voice who's inflection resembled my own but who's tone was tiny, 

"Ohhhhhh, you a big girl now!"

And she smiled - she made the assumption she had made my new day.

She did.


"Big Girl" compliments always make hers.


Dark is so less of a burden when light is your relief - Define your sunshine.

It's like the ability to encourage yourself and it is matchless and courage enhancing.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.
Helen Keller

7.2.13

DENISE! #throwbackthursday



Remember the first time you saw a person you could kind of relate to or even shared some features with on TV?


She had a really cool and seemingly misunderstood sense of style.

She could kick it with anybody.


She was an amazing big sister to Theo.

She was cool.

She always had wise words for her siblings

Some pretty good reasoning for Dr. and Mrs. Huxtable too.

She started off a really smart girl.

Did I say she was cool?

And when she went to Hillman- she became my hero.

So cool!

She mostly lost me after marrying Martin....(I think that was part of the irony with the Huxtable children though...namely Sandra or arguably Vanessa.)

But her locs (redemptive quality).

(I think Rudy would have been the crown jewel but I guess we will never know.)

but Denise...oh Denise!

I mean, Lisa Bonet.


Who was your favourite?



Dreamer?

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman


You know when the words of the past speak to your present?

"Present" may not be the best word...your inner man- your spirit.

So current and intimate.

Like, really close.

I've always been a fan and really inspired by Harriet Tubman and all she has contributed to freedom.


To me she is victory personified.

She is an amazing example of overcoming.  A woman who refused to be a victim of her circumstances, oppression and oppressors.

I've taken in the story of her life on many occasions and...I'm constantly working on wrapping my head and lifestyle around what it takes to capture a dream.

"Strength, Patience and Passion."

That simple?  


Her person was so far beyond me.


Taking Notes, 
CJ



4.2.13

Meet My Friend Ed-Esther (A Guest Post)

So a 3 year old hurt my feelings today as I was about to leave work.

As I was walking past, she turned to her older sister and said "What's wrong with her hair?" 


Although I am 27 years old, the comment stung. 


I thought about what to say as I kept walking...a few minutes later I decided to go talk to her:

(their kids will have $1,000,001 smiles!)

"Hey there - you're so cute! You know - as I was walking past you I heard what you said. I just wanted to tell you there is nothing wrong with my hair, it's just different than yours." 


"Well my mom doesn't have hair like you, it's not black." she said.


"That's right and that's OK - it's different in colour and in texture than my hair...Just like your eyes are brown and your sister's are blue and both are great!" 


The conversation basically ended there because well... She is 3 and got distracted (lol) but it made me think about a few missions I will be on as a future mom.


Teaching our children to find their identity in Christ, helping them to be respectful, kind & disciplined, fun, athletic, talented in the arts (etc!) but one other BIG thing that I soooo want them to know is that being black is an honour and a positive and wonderful thing, even when others don't think so! 


Ed-Esther



What important facets of your life and living do you hope to pass on to your children?


My lovely Canadian-Haitian friend has been in Toronto (by way of Montreal) for the last 10 years.  She's scholarly (I've been schooled), beautiful (have you seen her?), outgoing (understated), an amazing wife, daughter, sister and auntie (I've heard). 

She teaches French in the city and has a passion for Life, Education, The Arts,  Jesus and her Samuel.