Our Lost Ones | AprilNoelle.com

Our Lost Ones

2016 ended with a bang ~ and not a good one.

This world lost a host of widely known celebrities that have shaped our lives –

  • Carrie Fisher, a champion for female empowerment
  • George Michael and Prince shaping many memories
  • Big Ang, who brought us some great entertainment on Mob Wives

just to name a few off the top of my head. But so many more recognizable people died as well.

Our Lost Ones | AprilNoelle.comThat doesn’t include the people who passed who touched us personally. Just in the last week, I’ve had a friend lose her brother and my “Big Sis” died.

Lori Anne was a mentor, a confident, a leader. As sad as I am that I’ve lost her, I can’t help but think about how many lives she touched.

She’s the one that introduced me to the National Coalition of 100 Black Women in Orange County, an organization with which I still volunteer today. She was the biggest cheerleader of me becoming a stay at home mom, always making me feel better about my decision when so many people asked me “why I am wasting my law degree”.

More importantly, after posting this on Facebook, the sheer number of people who reached out, not just to comfort me, but because she had touched their lives too.

She showed me how to be strong against adversity and how to be grateful for the life I’ve been given.

I spoke with her just last week, and although there were some issues, she was positive, enlightening and always left me with words of wisdom.

Even in her death, all I can think about is how she was happy until the end, at least that’s what she told to the world and how she sounded on the phone. She told me that she had to put her health in God’s and doctors’ hands and her only responsibility was to live her life the best way she could.

So, to her I say, Rest In Peace “Big Sis”.

To everyone else, are you living your life the best way that you can?

 

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One Small Action to Support a Great Film | AprilNoelle.com

One Small Action to Support a Great Film

Early this summer, Jeff, my husband, and I met this couple: John and Jackie*. They are an older couple and we have learned to look up to them in a lot of ways.

We were making dinner plans one day and we had an interaction that went something like this:

John*: Are you going to see “Southside with You”? Jackie and I are going to see it on Friday night. We’d love for you to join us.

Me:  I doubt it.

John: Really? Why not?

Me: It’s hard to get discount tickets for new releases. (Yes, I’m that frugal.)

John: Oh

Me: No, I mean, the Costco movie tickets tend not to work on opening weekend. We normally go on the second or third weekend.

John: Well, you know seeing a movie on the first weekend helps the movie stay open on weekends two and three.

Me: Um, I know that.

John: You also know that most black movies aren’t open more than a couple of weeks. When we don’t support it the first weekend, it may not be around a second. If you want to see it, you really should try to see it the first weekend.

Me (deflated): ok…

One Small Action to Support a Great Film | AprilNoelle.comI felt like a deflated child. I felt like my parent telling me that I’ve been doing wrong even when I thought I was doing the right thing. It was like the day I took one of the horoscope things from the grocery store because I thought it was free only to find out I stole it.

And this was so simple. So easy.

See, I’m all for supporting the minority movie, not just black, but small movies, independent movies, movies that teach important lessons, movies that are against the moral grain, etc.

And truthfully, we rarely go to movies on opening weekend. For the bigger movies, I don’t want to fight crowds or get bad seats. For the smaller movies, it’s just me being cheap.

But when John said it, I felt like I had spent a lot of time trying to save a few dollars and possibly costing a good movie real support.  Movies that deserve more attention. Movies that don’t fit the minority stereotypes. Ones that are well-written and beautiful. Movies that we wrote. Movies that my brothers and sisters wrote, not an already established actor or director.

We need to break the stereotypes, the molds. We need to support the movies that are not typically blockbusters and turn those movies into the ones that production companies are clamoring to make.

So, what’s the one thing you could do to help movies that could lead to progress:

Go to the movies on opening weekend.

Go with your friends.

Make it a date night.

Drag your siblings.

Whatever you can do.

This is a plea to see a new movie, one out tonight.

Loving.

Loving tells the story of interracial couple Richard and Mildred Loving, who fell in love and were married in 1958. They grew up in Central Point, a small town in Virginia that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the American South. Yet it was the state of Virginia, where they were making their home and starting a family, that first jailed and then banished them. Richard and Mildred relocated with their children to the inner city of Washington, D.C., but the family ultimately tries to find a way back to Virginia.

This story is the epitome of the melting pot of the United States. It shows us the struggles that previous generations have gone through to lead us down the path of choosing our partner.

If the plot of this movie even ignites the smallest spark in you, go out and see it. And if it doesn’t, choose to go see other movies that you normally would wait for it to come out on DVD.

 

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

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A Very Merry Christmas to You

By far, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love everything about it: the decorations, the presents, the tree, the colors, and the lights (oh my, the lights). Most of all, I love how this one day seems to soften so many hearts around the world.

Christians and non-Christians alike celebrate Christmas. Some love the tree and elf on a shelf, others spend this time in prayer and reflection of that Christ did for us. Whether you believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior is almost irrelevant in some circles.

From My Tree to Yours

The power of giving, the power of love, the power of selflessness, becomes overwhelming.

So has the power of commercialism.

Commercialism has no power without our desire to buy. For most, people are buying for others, even spending their money beyond what they can reasonably afford to make someone else happy (or even satisfied). Yet, every year the amount that we spend on Christmas grows.

That’s great (except when you drive yourself into debt to do so).

I watch people give to non-profit organizations, the homeless on the streets and to teachers. I watch them think about someone else’s not only being on this earth, but what they may want or need. We stop focusing on ourselves, our feelings, our wants and we turn that focus on someone else in their circles.

I see love.

I see compassion.

I see the reason Jesus came to us.

Every year, I am moved by this season. Every year, I watch as we celebrate a day signifying Jesus’ birth, move through the people around me.

You may not believe. That’s ok. I do and every year I see and feel His presence.

When watching others don’t move me, the songs always do. My favorite song is an old one. Most radio plays the instrumental. Here’s a recent version by Pentatonix:

 

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Working Out is Hard to Do ~ #AAF with Liv {Live from Surprise}

For some weird reason, I think my life is going to get easier and I’ll get more time to do what I need to do. This week, both my girls were sick and I spent the week schlepping them to the doctor and nursing them back to health. We even had two cars this week, only for it to be raining with two sick kids for us not to enjoy it. Alas, I look forward to #AskAwayFriday where I can get to know another blogger, instead of thinking too much about this one. 🙂

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…
#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers! By offering a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Now to welcome our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts… NEWAskAwayFridayHost550

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera, Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter, Christy from Uplifting Families, Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings and Amber from Bold Fit Mom
So…grab the brand, new button, follow our amazing hosts and co-host, hop through the great link ups and make some amazing new friends!

#AAF photo AAFBadge200_zpsb37e620f.png

This week, I exchange questions with Liv from Live by Surprise! New to the #AskAwayFriday scene, she’s jumped right in with some great questions. She is a momma of three that has found happiness with her second husband that could not be fulfilled by her first. Her story is one of inspiration, showing us her vulnerabilities of struggling with her ex, and making a great life with her husband, three children and a dog. Introducing Liv!
Live by Surprise 1
1). Do you feel like you’re a niche blogger?  If so, what niche do you fall into and why? I started my blog with a “niche”, weight loss, but as I started doing more blogging, I realized I wasn’t interested in only blogging about weight loss, especially considering 18 months out of the four years I’ve been doing it, I’ve been pregnant. It’s no fun, at least for me, to blog about health and weight loss, when your cravings are sweets, junk and carbs! I love talking about money and making sure women make wise money decisions because historically, we don’t pay that much attention, but when divorce is 50%, you want to be prepared to take on your money portfolio and keep yourself on track! I will be started a new site just for this shortly about women helping women take control of their lives and getting the support they need to succeed!
2). For new readers of your blog (like me) can you explain what the 100 lb Challenge is? Oh, there’s technically no “100lb Challenge”. Although now that I think about it, I really should have one. It’s 100lb Countdown, and when I started this blog, I was 260 pounds, mostly from depression. I’m currently 230, and I’m working to get down to 160 (hence, 100 pounds). Working out is hard to do with the little ones around. I would love to run an actual challenge, but I have to get some other folks involved! With three kids at home, I’m normally swamped dealing with them.
3). Which of your blog posts most represents who you are? The ones that are just are… The ones that don’t have a blog hop attached, or a sponsor, or a point. I don’t do many of them, even though many of them are in draft. However, I love to educate people, especially women, as I mentioned above. Those are more “me”. It’s hard for me to sell, even if I’m selling me. I normally feel that proof is in the pudding, but after you graduate from school, the proof is a little harder to grasp and show off in concrete terms.
4). You are pretty active on social media.  How do you use it to increase traffic to your blog?  What’s your favourite social media site and why? I love Twitter mainly because I find it least invasive. I don’t know why I find other mediums invasive, but because of the speed of Twitter, even if you tweet something multiple times, people are likely to only see it once, if at all, which makes me feel more comfortable in using it. I’m not that active, at least not as active as I want to be. I use tools like Triberr and Tweetily to make sure my timelines are active, because I don’t want them to go dormant. I would love to be able to carry on more conversations using Facebook, but when a post is only shown to 10 out of 900 or 20 out of 4000, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that. Wait, did I just go on a Facebook tangent, I think I did.
Just in shear numbers, the more times you post your information out there, the more likely people will find it. Since people are being bombarded with posts and mentions and whatnot, Twitter is something I feel comfortable with. Always moving, ever changing.
5). How long have you been doing #AAF?  What has been your favourite question so far? I think I’m at about 20 weeks, which means about 5 months. I had to dig to find my favorite question. I’m not sure that I have a favorite, but one that really touched me was from Carol: What is the most important thing that you want to teach your children? I want my children to be honest, hard working and smart individuals. I want them to find something the enjoy and work hard building it and making it grow. However, I want them to work smarter and not harder, when they can.
6). Summer has just started.  What are your summer plans? I don’t really have any summer plans even though summer has been very busy. We’ve already been to Orlando, South Carolina and a slew of other activities. I think this is definitely the mos active summer that I’e had since I’ve had children and loving every minute of it.
7). Like me, you have three little ones at home.  What do you find the most difficult with having that many? When they are all unhappy, restless or nasty. They seem to feed off of each other, and I can’t say I have the best coping mechanism. They become crazy, I become frazzled. They each have their way of dealing with it too… Bunny becomes hostile, Bee becomes loud and Butterfly becomes whiny. My head starts to hurt and separating them seems to be the only solution.  What do you think is easier than just having one? They take care of each other. Just as crazy as they can be together, they also love each other. They will play with each other and spend time laughing and tickling each other. The television turns to something they all can enjoy and mom can get a few minutes to clean or whatever.
8). What is your favourite book of all time? I’m not sure I have one. When I was younger, I read like I ate, all the time and out of necessity. I digested books, like I did food at the time. I didn’t savor the moment. I enjoyed the book for what they are. I really enjoyed War and Peace, which was a challenge read that I gave to myself as an adult. I love James Patterson books, the ones he wrote himself, not the ones ghostwritten.
9). Do you see your personality traits in any of your kids?  Which ones? Goodness, I see so many. In Bunny, I see my quiet intelligence. It makes me question whether nature or nurture is what is ingrained in the child, because things I don’t feel that I “taught” him, he shows. Bee showcases my stubbornness. Although, as a child, I was quiet and reserved, inside I hated so many things around me, which Bee seems to easily exude any dislike or hatred. Even when I didn’t say anything, many felt my unhappiness. Butterfly seems to share my short-temperedness. I’m amazed at how an eight month old can roll her eyes and not want to jump in the drama of the older two.
someecards.com - I can't wait for the day when I can drink with my kids instead of because of them.
10). What’s the best part of being a SAHM? Today, Bee and Butterfly didn’t feel good. I was able to sit with each of them in their grief, and nurse them to sleep. I may have not been able to take away their illnesses, but by being there, I know that they felt comforted. Even though having two sick children really sucks, those are the best days, the days that I don’t have to apologize for not coming in to work, the days that my husband doesn’t ask why dinner isn’t on the table, the days where holding my children are the most important task of the day.
And that’s it this week. Liv responded to my questions too! Make sure go over there and see her responses! Check out my previous #AAF posts!
Did you know that there’s an awesome Build Your Bundle – Homeschool Edition sale next week? Would you like to be an affiliate?

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“We Make a Great Team Together” with Link up!

Summer has officially started in the 100lb Countdown household. Bunny has successfully completed 4th grade and I can finally breathe a sigh of relief for a more relaxed schedule. Overall, he has done well in school… and the struggles are for another post. He has asked consistently since my mother moved to South Carolina seven years ago to go and visit. This year is the first time that this was a possibility.

Getting him there was another story. As someone has who hasn’t had a consistent relationship with my mother, my husband was hesitant, to say the least. Since I knew the background, and I knew he knew the background, I had made the decision (after we agreed that he would go) that I would drive up my son alone and return. I’ve made the trip several times ~ no, not from here to SC, but from where I lived in LA to law school. They are approximately the same distance away.

However, the entire family here was against me making that drive alone.

And I was grateful for that. Who wants to drive seven hours alone?

What came next was surprising… my husband would be the one coming with me.

YES… I’m doing cartwheels in my head!

We get ready to go… and the hammer drops. I’m doing this because I don’t think my wife and child should be riding alone for that distance.

How noble of you!

After much discussion (as I said, we don’t really argue), he said that he was unhappy with this particular decision, but he couldn’t let me go alone. He wouldn’t want anyone to think he’d be ok with his children riding alone.

Well, not so noble.

He started to feel ill… coming down with whatever illness my Bee had the night before…during the drive. I drove the last two hours.

Upon our arrival, he was as nice and gracious as a sick person could be. We opted to stay in a hotel for comfort and to not spread the illness unnecessarily. He participated in everything, with a smile on his face (kinda, remember, he was still sick) and tried to enjoy it all while we went sightseeing and ate sushi for lunch.

After all was said and done, and we left my son to spend the next week with my mother, I thanked him for his good spirit. His response:

teamwork

With this, I know he’s got my back and through our discussions, he knows I have his. We are a great team. I love him so much for all of it!

 

Happy Fathers Day
Happy Father’s Day, hunny! I love you so much!

More on loving my husband here written way before this post was written!

dear-darling-husband

 

 

This has been added as a part of this week’s sentence… DEAR DAD…

FTSF

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Countdown in Style is on Vacation with a BIG Thank You

But I’m not.

Last weekend, I was as we went on vacation, I was considering whether it was all worth it. Putting on a blog hop is no joke, and especially a blog hop like ours where we visit every single post each week. If you didn’t know, my blogging friend and co-host has been on sabbatical for personal reasons for the last couple of weeks, which put all the work on me. I was amazed at how much work it was weekly, just for one person to carry ~ how many things and pieces you have to put together to pull it off each week, especially if you have multiple people.

So, I really considered not returning from the vacation, talking to my co-host and calling it a day, especially since I don’t know how long her sabbatical will be.

That’s when I know that God is in control, because these were the comments that I got that day:

irkedmommy comment Lorraine comment Lydia Comment

I don’t know what you all get out of our work each week, but I do get something from you each week. I just wasn’t sure that was enough.

So I want to shout:

Thank You

Thank You

Thank You

for being supportive and coming back each week! I really appreciate you!Nameplate 2 with Be Blessed

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