Today would be my maternal grandfather’s 95th birthday. His name is Elisberry and he passed away in 1995, transitioning to his next spiritual assignment. Here’s a picture of him and my grandmother, Maxine, on their wedding day. I absolutely love this photo. They were married over 43 years when my grandfather passed away.

My cousins and I call him “Poppa” (paw-paw), his children call him “daddy”, my grandmother (his wife) called him Elisberry or “E.L.” for short. He was “E.L.” to other family members and friends, and then to his fishing and hunting crew he was “King Fish”.

When I was a small child he gave me the nickname “Yellow Belly”, partly a tie in to a fish reference, and the other part due to my lighter skin complexion. My cousin Princess still calls me by my nickname. It always makes me think of our grandfather.

He was a devoted husband and a proud father of three children—pictured in the collage below and also pictured above with my grandmother and my mother when she was a toddler. Poppa was a super duper awesome grandfather, and a committed provider and protector, who would do anything to help a loved one.

Matter of fact, the asthma attack that he succumbed to was triggered from working on a family member’s property. He ignored the symptoms, not wanting to leave the work unfinished.

Poppa was a hard worker, who sacrified a lot—as he never attended high school because he had to tend to the family farm and help provide for his mother and siblings. Heck, his asthma was a result of poor working conditions doing paint and body work for a Ford Motor Company subsidiary/affiliate. Lousy ventilation, inadequate safety equipment, and probably a lack of knowledge about the health risks as we know now. But he worked in those conditions to provide for his family, and to give them a life better than he had growing up.

That job made it possible for him to ensure that his children could focus on their education and not on working at a job, and he bought all three of his children brand new Ford Mustangs during their senior years in high school. His children never grew up facing the harsh realities he knew as a child and young man.

He and my grandmother worked hard so that their children didn’t experience poverty growing up. They were a part of the middle class. For him, the sacrifices he made were worth it.

Here’s a picture of Poppa, my grandmother Maxine (known as “Mamacine” by her grandchildren), and three of my cousins: Tia, Shalwan, and Michael (the toddler at the bottom). They, along with their youngest sibling Steven (who was born several years after this picture was taken), spent almost every weekend with our grandparents growing up.

Poppa didn’t have formal education, but my grandfather had a PhD in common sense and life. I’ve learned and recall more from this brilliant man than books or teachers ever provided. I continue to reflect upon and apply the lessons and skills that he taught me growing up. He taught me how to just be myself, how to laugh at myself, how to enjoy the quiet and hectic days, and the importance of family.

My grandfather taught me how to fish, hunt, plant and harvest food, survival skills, discipline, humbleness, patience, and forgiveness. Heck, my grandfather forgave his family members that stole land from him. I’m sure that in his mind he probably thought that if they needed it that much to con and steal it from him, then they could have it. He would leave the details to God.

In addition to all of these remarkable things, my Poppa taught me how to always be mindful of my surroundings and to take the life skills of country living and apply it to city life.

You don’t know how valuable those skills have been for this city girl. Growing up using out houses, running through wild country fields, eating the weirdest foods, climbing through bobwire, being almost elbows deep in dirt digging through his amazing garden for the best fruit and vegetables, learning about cars, and experiencing the joys of life with only the bare essentials. All of this equipped me to travel the world and embrace amazing experiences in environments most people would cringe to be in.

Some other things that he taught me— but I didn’t realize it until recently—was he taught me about being a responsible home owner, and how to rewire after retirement. My grandfather made sure that he and my grandmother’s home was paid off and well maintained, and he also ensured that my grandmother (who was an entrepreneur) would be financially cared for if he passed before her. Heck, my grandfather passed in 1995, and he was still taking care of my grandmother financially until she transitioned in 2017. How awesome is that?!?

Poppa remained active in retirement. He showed me the value of keeping your mind and body engaged and active, exercising both your physical and mental muscles. I truly believe that had that asthma attack not gotten over on him, my grandfather would’ve lived another 20-plus years.

I’m so grateful to be the grand daughter of this amazing spirit, this remarkable man, affectionately known as “E.L.”

I love and miss you dearly Poppa!

~Natasha your “Yellow Belly”

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Yesterday, I shared a post on my Breaking Bread With Natasha blog about some unsettling news that I’ve been trying to process for several days. When you already don’t feel well, getting bad news doesn’t help. It takes a toll on you. Let me share here some of what I shared yesterday, and then a little more. My loving celebration for a beautiful person, inside and out.

One of my paternal cousins passed away last week. Her name is Felicia and she was my big cousin, even when (in elementary school) I surpassed her in height, I still looked up to her.

There she is, at the bottom center of the photo above. That’s her, circa 1978. For the longest, I was the baby cousin in the family, until Valarie (top right) and Felicia had children, and then I got to be a big cousin.

Felicia was always oh so cool to me. As a child I looked up to her. The way she walked, spoke, carried herself, and her smile—let’s just say, this little cousin wanted to be like her big cousin. It was really special that Felicia and Valarie would let me and their younger siblings, Sharmika and Damion (pictured above on either side of Felicia) hang with them even though they were much older than us.

How many teenagers will let their little cousin and siblings hang with them? Not many.

Clearly, Felicia and Valarie didn’t think it cramped their style too much. They entertained us for awhile, especially when our parents would go out somewhere. When it was time for them to go do their teenage thing, the three of us wanted to still hang with them, but we conceded the fact that we just weren’t old enough—or maybe we just understood that arguing with our parents was senseless, so we opted to do what most little kids do, run outside and play, or find something to get into in the house. But that didn’t mean we didn’t yearn to go with Felicia and the crew.

Felicia had this air, this presence about her, growing up and even in adulthood. Quiet but a force. Still but powerful. Subtle but strong. Always a mystery, so you had to get to know her. Her eyes and smile just draw you in. She was, is, and always will be a dynamic woman.

Thanks to social media we were able to reconnect after losing touch for a few years. This then allowed me to reconnect with two of her children, my younger cousins, and peek into their lives while they peeked into mine.

It’s difficult to hear that someone you love has transitioned; even when you know it’s the natural cycle of life. I know I should be celebrating her life and legacy, and the fact that she’s reunited with family and loved ones who transitioned earlier. It’s still difficult to embrace the reality that I can’t just click on her social media profile and say hello. She is missed. She will be missed.

The last time I saw her, in-person, was at our uncle Archie’s funeral in 2017. Here are a couple of pictures at the repast.

Do you see her? She’s easy to spot. Still a ray of light!

I send love to my family, and to Felicia’s extended family and friends. May God comfort and strengthen them. Please say a prayer for everyone that knows and loves Felicia. Thank you.

Love,

Natasha

Today I say “so long” to my Purdue University Global (PUG) students, as it’s their last day in my class. Next week I will welcome my new group. I always get sappy during the last few days of class, especially when I have a great connection with the students. This particular class was super awesome. They shared and they allowed me to share. They taught and were highly receptive to my teachings. I enjoy learning from my students. It’s an intense 10-week learning experience.

Any teacher, instructor, professor, who says that they don’t learn from their students, needs to reconsider why in the world they are doing this day in and day out. Our students have diverse backgrounds and experiences, and through sharing, we can learn a lot from them. I learn about industries and fields that I’ve never worked in, companies that I’ve never worked for, positions that I’ve never held, family experiences I’ve never had, cultures that I don’t know much or anything about, and places that I’ve never been. For them, I share my experiences, adventures, skills, and strengths. I pour into them as much as I can for the time that we have together, hoping that some of what I invest in them has some long-term stickability.

Yes, I invest in them. That’s why I give them as much of me as I can.

I know that some of my students will be finishing their Bachelor’s degree soon, and they are either pursuing a Master’s degree, positioning themselves for a promotion or raise at work, leveraging this knowledge for the entrepreneurial goals, or just equipping themselves for whatever the future holds. I also have some students who pursued this degree because it served as a challenge, and achieving this goal will catapult them to the next big goal, even if they don’t know what that is right now.

In life, we are all teachers, sharing with the world our unique experiences and perspectives. There’s a small percentage of us who are blessed to have virtual and physical classrooms with 10, 25, 30, and over 100 eager students, waiting to learn, be challenged, and to challenge us.

So I’m both excited and nervous about welcoming my Fall semester, Atlanta Technical College (ATC) students to my classes this week. When you teach year-round (basically), you only have about one week before your next class, sometimes I get a two-week breather. There’s not much time to plan and prepare for the next group of students. So you have to be disciplined, create fluid and automated systems, be innovative and creative, and challenge yourself to do something new, bold, and exciting. Every semester I challenge myself to do something different. I don’t want my students recycling my lessons across campus. I don’t want incoming students thinking that they know what to expect from their time with me. Life isn’t predictable. I like for my classes to mirror life.

I look forward to the next 16 weeks with my ATC students. Every semester I challenge myself, and this semester is no different. I’m not sure if I’m prepared and ready for the ideas that I have outlined. I’m always experimenting with ideas. Some things work and other things don’t. It depends on the method of delivery and the format of the class—if its on campus, online, or a hybrid. Some students are more receptive than others, it has a lot to do with their backgrounds and previous experience. I find ways to bring in technology while also forcing students to think and research without first Googling it. If we’re supposed to prepare them for now and the future, then I have to do my part to bring them the now and the future. When I hear them say, “my other instructors don’t do that” then I know I’m on the right path.

Some of my students have goals of transferring to a 4-year college or university. Some desire to pursue their entrepreneurial or managerial goals. A few are angling for promotions or raises, and these courses, degrees, and certificates help them to get one step closer. Others are soaking up knowledge to be better, think broader, and see more. Some aren’t quite sure what they’re doing or where they’re going. That means that they need the types of learning experiences that will help them to see what feels right for them and their future. I’m glad to be of service.

In less than two hours I will stand before one of my classes, see their nervous faces, and give them a peek into the next 16 weeks, that will hopefully have a lasting and positive impact on them for years to come. That’s what many of my college professors did for me, and that’s my goal for my students. I may be teaching a student who is just like I was. I can’t let them down. So let’s do this!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

This morning I shared a message on my other blog #BreakingBreadWithNatasha

I decided to share here the reflection I had written there. I’ve edited it to focus solely on the thoughts and declarations about faith and fear. I hope it resonates with someone, maybe you. I hope it has the level of stickability to help you overcome that which serves as a barrier and hindrance to you. You can read the entire message here.

If you aren’t a spiritual person, simply change the word(s) that don’t align with you, for that which empowers and gives you greater confidence.

Here’s Today’s Reflection:

Faith is believing in the unseen, the unknown, the immeasurable, and the inconceivable.

Faith is walking even when you don’t see the path ahead.

Faith is believing in and opening yourself to seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching using your spiritual senses—and not with your human senses (which are limited).

Faith is knowing that there is a “there” even when you aren’t sure where “here” is….

Fear is a distractor, a blocker. It rears up to distort your vision and perfect reception to God. The greater your fear the less you rely upon God to solve your dilemma. The more you give in to the fear, the more you pull away from God….

Fear is a punk. Faith is a warrior.

Fear keeps you in the state of lack. It keeps you struggling to survive. Faith fills and overflows your cup with abundance of greatness. Faith plus works equals a life of thriving, not just surviving.

We “can’t” with fear. We can with faith. It’s impossible with fear. It’s only possible with faith. Fear keeps “can’t” and “impossible” and “it’s too difficult” and “there’s no cure” as the barriers in our life. They become the forests that we think we can’t see past. Faith gives you the vision to see everything, everywhere.

Expand your thinking and vision.

Look beyond the weeds and trees, and beyond the obvious things surrounding you. Connect with your spiritual foundation and then hold on for the ride, because it’s going to be exciting and euphoric.

Love always,

Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Almost daily, I chat with my former sister-in-law Arleen. She and I have always had a close and special bond. A bond that would and will never be broken. We are connected spiritually, so marriage nor divorce, had a say in the matter of whether she and I would be family. She will always be a part of my family.

I awoke this morning to my daily text from Arleen. It included a quote that moved me and made me emotional. I felt compelled to share it. So I did and I am. I hope that it speaks to someone, maybe you. I also hope that you will forward this message to someone who may truly need this as a reminder each and every day.

Some may question the title of this post. I wrote it to speak to those individuals who share common beliefs with me. I don’t assume that everyone who reads my messages are believers of God. Matter of fact, I know that I have athiests, agnostics, and even conditional believers (when things are going great they believe) who are subscribers. I want them to make a choice to read my message, or not. I’m not here to trick or blindside people. I believe in choices. So with that, let’s delay this no further…

Sending love and light to all of you!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I’m excited about tonight’s webinar. It’s so awesome to have the opportunity to hear about your dreams, goals, and experiences, while I share with you my insights about starting, revamping, and revitalizing businesses.

I’m passionate about business and managing all that makes up and supports a business. I believe that we are all learners and all teachers. I want to learn from you and I want to teach you what I’ve learned—through trials and tribulations, through successes and failures, through study and application.

If you haven’t registered yet, here’s your chance…

Join me. Let’s have some fun!

~Natasha

Copyright 2019. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

This Thursday I will be leading a webinar, simply titled: How to Successfully Start, Revamp or Revitalize Your Business.

During our time together I will help you to:

  • Answer some bold and important questions for you and your company
  • See how to leverage your strengths and resources
  • Seize opportunities
  • Identify and understand the failing and failures of business
  • Gain access to a new course that I’m offering through Foreman & Associates
  • Much more…

To register for the webinar you can click on any of the images below or click on this link. I hope to see you Thursday at 7pm ET. Space is limited so register now and arrive 5 minutes early (if possible). Thank you!

http://foremanllc.gr8.com