Did you purchase my books “Seek Him, Volume 1” AND “Seek Him: Workbook 1”? 

If so, please share a photo of yourself with BOTH books, and tag me @natashalforeman and @domelifepublishing on IG, FB, or Twitter to be entered into a drawing to win a FREE copy of Volume 2 of the Seek Him book series, to be released VERY SOON!

Yes, you read that correctly. If you’ve been tracking with me, you should be well into your copy of Volume 1. Well, Volume 2 picks up where the first book leaves off. Volume 1 covers months 1 through 4, and Volume 2 covers months 5 through 8. That gives you 4 more months, and this next level gets deeper. It goes BEYOND your spiritual comfort zone. So share your pics and tag away, to be entered into the drawing.

The winner will be announced Monday, February 15th.

This has not been the month of tech for me, as I’ve had my share of headaches with the devices that make it possible for me to share my messages and engage with all of you on social media. Two weeks ago my cell phone experienced an internal crash and after days of trying to fix it I had to settle with getting another phone. I then spent several days waiting for the new phone to be delivered, and then there is the transition that we go through when having to re-add content to a new phone, and trying to remember passwords, etc.

It’s been an experience to say the least. I decided to go back to Apple iPhone, from Samsung, and since my Samsung crashed I can’t access content. So this feels more like it did years ago when we first started using smart phones and you had to add the content and download the apps for the very first time. The only difference is, I’m trying to add apps that I already had and remember passwords that keep slipping my mind. I can’t recall all of the names of my apps, because some of them rebranded. I just grew comfortable remembering their logos. Goodness gracious.

I’m still not back up 100% but I’m much farther along than two weeks ago. So please be patient with me over these next several days…heck, even the next few weeks. Thank you.

Love, Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Happy birthday Mom!

Today is bittersweet, because it is my amazing mother’s birthday, and her eldest grandson Bishop isn’t here to celebrate her extra special day.

But rather than focus on the gloom and loss, we’re going to focus on the light and blessings.

Our heavenly Father has blessed my mother, Gwendolyn, with some beautiful decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds on this beautiful, big planet. We thank Him for this time and thank Him for each and every additional decade that He blesses her with.

He blessed her and continues to bless her with intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, beauty, humor, creativity, compassion, grace, and so much more. He blesses my mother with excellent health and wellness.

We thank Him now for continued excellence in all areas of her life. We thank Him now for uplifting her in areas where she needs support, correcting what needs mending and fixing, and reinforcing all that He sees necessary for reinforcement. We thank Him now for the abundance of spiritual, mental, physical, financial, and social blessings coming her way.

My mother is a servant leader and she desires to be better in all ways, so that she can glorify God, life her life as He envisions, support her family as needed, and do her part to help and uplift other people.

My mom loves her family. She is usually the first to try and coordinate family gatherings. She has been working hard to spruce up her childhood home, my grandparents house, to make it into a family hang out for holidays and other special occasions. Mom is the solution-finder, fixer, quicker picker upper. She loves planning and attending parties and special events. She’s loyal and when she has your back, she’s got your back!

My mom is a social butterfly and I’ve always teased that she could talk to a tree, she’s just that sociable. It’s no wonder she’s been blessed with opportunities, jobs, and careers working with and serving others.

Even her college degree that she busted her butt and earned several years ago, is in a field that is designed to help others. My mom is a giver, thanks to God’s guiding and molding hand. She could’ve chosen not to be, but I’ve known her my entire life, and that’s just not in her character. Mom’s heart is set on pouring into others. Mom sacrifices self for the benefit of others.

I want to be in the position where I can financially support my mother’s dreams. I thank God now for making these visions a reality so that my mother can serve without question of the financial how-to’s. With God blessing her, me, and my sister, I know that He will make a way.

I’m grateful and blessed to have my mother, mom, confidante, and best friend. My mom was my first friend. The first heart I heard beating. I was nourished by her in her womb. Every emotion she felt I also felt. My first impressions in and of life was thanks to my mother. She has never stopped loving, caring, uplifting, supporting, and blessing me, my sister, our family.

Today and every day I celebrate my mom and thank God for blessing me and this planet with her. She is an amazing mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, and friend.

Mom, I know that today isn’t how you envisioned it last year, the first of this year, last month, or even last week. But I pray that as always, you look closely and see that silver lining, the blessings, and the beauty—and you celebrate it like you’re a big ole’ kid. Smile brightly, laugh hearty, and bust out dancing and singing whenever the Spirit moves you.

Today while at work, treat each person like it is their birthday, and rock this day and the days ahead, like you have the shiniest, sparkliest crown on your head. Because my beloved, you do!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Loving you forever and always,

Natasha

It is with deep sadness, sorrow, and gut-wrenching pain that I share today that yesterday, November 14, 2020, by beloved child, dog, friend, companion, and protector—Bishop Milo Bryant, transitioned from this life.

I struggle to type these words because his presence is so strong, in my heart, mind, spirit, and soul. His presence is so strong in my home, car, and throughout social media—as he has his own IG, FB, and Twitter accounts.

I walk past his bed, cool mat, blanket, water and food area, his toys, and I’m waiting to see him. My heart hurts. My head hurts. My entire body is in agony and I don’t know what else to do except pray for peace within.

I never thought that my initial plans to take him to Lake Lanier for a day out would instead lead to a change of plans the moment we got into my SUV. He was energetic earlier in the day but was lethargic when I returned home with his $19 FreshPet food loaf. I was excited about mixing it up with a sweet potato I cooked him Friday night. I said it had to be yummy if it cost $19. I couldn’t wait to see if Bishop enjoyed it. But Bishop was now lethargic and not interested in food or even his beloved treats.

I thought the drive, good weather, and time at the lake would change his energy. He was excited to go but his energy wasn’t as high as normal.

A family friend had invited us and was waiting in the car when I loaded up the essentials I would need for a day at the lake. Just as I grabbed Bishop’s toys from his cubby in the rear of my SUV, and tossed them in the backseat to entertain and comfort him, my friend told me Bishop’s gums were white. They had been a light pink hours before. Now we were both confused.

No trip to the lake. The only car ride was to the hospital. I jumped in my SUV, told my friend I would keep them posted, and I sped off. I have no clue what they said as I left. My only focus was Bishop.

After not reaching his vet, I called the ER and told them I’m heading their way. Bishop was in the backseat in his hammock, not his normal self. I held one of his paws as I drove. I contacted my sister and friend with updates, and texted our other family friend (and former assistant) to notify him and Bishop’s dad of the latest. I asked my sister to contact my mom to keep her informed.

My friend, who I left waiting outside our home, had pulled up three parking spaces away. There were several cars waiting for care of their beloved pets.

The staff brought me paperwork to complete and then the assistant came and escorted Bishop inside the building, while I followed COVID-19 protocols and waited in my car.

Never did I think this ER visit would be our last together.

I hadn’t contemplated anything as serious as the phone call I received not even 30 minutes later. As I cried on the phone with the doctor, I took detailed notes to share with loved ones who would have questions. I read my notes back to the doctor and she said she couldn’t believe the accuracy of my note-taking. Those kudos only had a light touch because I was being congratulated on my accuracy in a time of duress and horror.

Without sharing the awful diagnosis (and I have no intention in sharing it later, so please don’t ask), I will say that the prognosis shared gave my beloved Bishop Milo 3 to 6 more months of time with me, if (and only if) his surgery and aftercare had no hiccups. The best case scenario was 6 to 12 months, but factoring in his age and breed, the doctor was barely holding on to that level of optimism.

The steps required sounded like anxiety-ridden, stress-inducing, painful moments for my baby. He was already experiencing great anxiety and discomfort every time he returned from the vet and hospital these previous few weeks. It would take days for him to return to normal. I couldn’t fathom what hospitalization, surgery, rehab, and any other procedures would cause his beautiful mind to think and his heart to feel.

My baby is love, light, and high energy. When he’s not feeling good the whole world turns grey around us. Nothing and no one matters during that time except Bishop. My worry and tears would only worry him more. We both leaned on each other for comfort and support. So what would this proposed experience be like for him? For us?

When the doctor warned me of the potential complications during and after surgery, I swear the world stopped rotating for a few moments. I couldn’t comprehend my baby passing away on an operating table, in a recovery crate, on the way home, or any other number of scenarios that were presented. I couldn’t let him think I left him with strangers to experience such traumas.

My son needed to hear, see, feel, and be around his loved ones. My son needed to hear, feel, and know that he is loved, appreciated, and the best son ever. I didn’t want him to leave this level of existence not knowing that he did an amazing job loving on everyone he encountered.

He did an amazing job loving, supporting and protecting me. He did an amazing job caring for me when I was sick, throughout my current and past injuries, and throughout my health scares. When my body doesn’t want to cooperate, Bishop aligns his energy with me and he’s more gentle and patient, as he knows I sometimes struggle to physically interact with him like I normally do. He’s grown to be an awesome support dog, more than I imagined—as most of the things he’s learned to support me have been within the last one to two years.

He did an amazing job learning other new things these past two years, including free walking off leash in crowds, around cars, and while other dogs and cats were in close proximity. Bishop loved chasing cats.

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but clearly they didn’t know Bishop Milo. My baby was still learning new things days before this tragedy.

What my baby needed now was to look into our eyes, and we look into his, and know that all would be different, but all would be well. He wouldn’t hurt and suffer anymore. He wouldn’t be subjected to poking and proding, needles and other things being stuck in him. He wouldn’t have to deal with doctors and nurses anymore. No more anxious runs, racing to his mommy trying to break free from the grasp of the attendant walking him out to me.

I sobbed knowing that this was the right decision but wishing I had a better one. I kept hoping for a miracle but one never came.

We were supposed to be at the lake, playing near and in the water, looking at bugs, insects and people. He was supposed to be rolling around in grass and playing catch. We were supposed to have a great Saturday and then plan our Sunday football menu. We were supposed to be planning our road trip for Thanksgiving, and prepping for Christmas.

We were supposed to be getting hyped up for his upcoming, November 25th birthday. My baby Bishop was turning 9 years old and I had already picked out his gift and cake. I even contemplated buying him an outfit to wear.

Now, instead, I was having to make the toughest decision I’ve had to make so far in my life.

I spoke with my friend and my sister, separately and then together. My sister made phone calls to update my mom and to have my ex-husband updated. I called the ER doctor and she walked outside to speak in person. I told her that I didn’t want my baby to hurt anymore, to be scared anymore, to be traumatized anymore, and I couldn’t selfishly intervene knowing that I risked causing all of those things and more to happen to the spirit, energy, light that I love as my very own child.

It wasn’t long after that the assistant guided me and my friend into a private room where Bishop anxiously and lethargically tried to get to us, and convince us to get him out of there. We joined my mom and sister on a video call, where we all grieved together.

I’m grateful to the staff for allowing me to stay with Bishop as long as I wanted. Well, as long as I wanted in that room. Because my heart and mind say he’s supposed to be here beside me right now, as I type these words, he’s supposed to be waiting for today’s adventure to unfold.

I sobbed all yesterday and woke up today crying. All I want is my baby, Bishop. As I drove home I could smell his scent in my car. When I put my key in the lock and opened my front door, I expected for him to be there, high-energy, welcoming me home and asking what I brought back for him. My home is filled with Bishop and all-things Bishop. His toys, bedding, blankets, and clothes. My SUV has two storage cubes filled with Bishop’s things.

Last night, I spent hours on his IG and Facebook, looking at videos and pictures of him over the years, and funny videos of dogs that our family and friends had posted that reminded us of Bishop. For as long as I can, I will keep his social media accounts active. I plan on creating some photo albums and video montages of Bishop.

I want my baby. I miss my baby. Our time together wasn’t long enough. Almost 9 years wasn’t enough. I had travel plans for us. I had plans to find him the perfect sibling or siblings to boss around, and play with. We were supposed to swim in ponds, lakes, and pools together. We still had countless hiking trips to go on, adventures to create.

All of that is gone. So now I hold on dearly to the memories, the pictures, videos, and tangible items that were and are Bishop’s.

I thank my sister for the beautiful message she posted on Facebook yesterday, honoring her nephew. I thank those of you who posted condolences, sent texts, and called. Right now I need some time to cope and go through these grieving and healing steps. Please understand my desire to be antisocial for awhile. For some of you, Bishop was just a dog. For those of you who had Bishop in your life, you know better. You know the loving soul and spirit that rested in that big ole furry body. You know that he was, is, and always will be my child.

I’m contemplating hosting a virtual memorial service for him, on his birthday. If I do, I hope you will attend and share your memories and prayers for Bishop. Unlike my book release party, there won’t be any registration, just show up and share in the love. I’m hurting y’all but I’m also grateful that my baby is at peace. I’m hurting but I only have pain because the love we share is so strong. I’m blessed to know this deepness and purity of love.

Bishop gave and taught me unconditional love. There is no greater gift. I will hold that love in my heart forever.

Love,

Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Hey everyone!

  1. Check out this quick video of me…

2. Then tune in at 6:30pm ET and listen to Episode 47 of the Don’t Call It Small…Business Podcast as we discuss “Supporting the Entrepreneur In Your Life”. Be sure to share with others.

You can also listen using the player below.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/11391552/ep-47-supporting-the-entrepreneur-in-you

3. Thank you!

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally happened…My books will be released on October 20, 2020!
Click on the image to order.
Yes, you read that correctly. The first book makes up the three-volume series.The title of the book is “SEEK HIM, Volume 1: Testing Your Spiritual Comfort Zone“. It is inspired by my journey through my blog Breaking Bread With Natasha.

In addition to a Bible verse, Reflection, and Prayer, you have daily activities such as:

Speak Your Truth” which is a daily session of affirmations and declarations that you will speak and write. They aren’t my words you’re using. They are yours. You are encouraged to speak truth over yourself.”

Go Deeper” is a daily activity that challenges you to explore the theme, topics, and questions on a deeper level. To complete this activity you will be pointed to our workbook, which I will tell you more about shortly.

At the beginning of each month you will find trivia or statements about historical or cultural contexts related to the Bible. This section is called “Ponder This“. It’s purpose is to get your mind churning. You will be directed to read the corresponding “Consider This” section towards the back of the book.

Consider This is the response to Ponder This. See if your thoughts, beliefs, and understanding of the information aligns with the historical, cultural, linguistic, and religious facts provided.

I didn’t just make up some information or type what I recall learning in church. I did extensive research and shared my sources in the Notes section in the back of the book.

At the end of each month there is a “Go Beyond” section which you may or may not be ready to explore, depending on your frame of mind, or what’s going on in your life. It’s also a great activity to do in Bible Study, book clubs, and with other groups.

SEEK HIM, Volume 1 comes in paperback and ebook versions.It also has a companion workbook (as mentioned earlier) that is a tool to further encourage your deeper exploration of self, your relationship with God, and more. It’s simply titled, “SEEK HIM: Workbook 1“. Trust me, you don’t want to skip the workbook. It truly tests your comfort zone and your knowledge of historical and cultural details from Biblical times. I was encouraged by several people to provide content that could challenge even the long-time devotees to Christ. That required hours, days, and weeks of research, fact-finding, and truth-seeking.

The culmination of this research is provided in the section of the workbook called, “Greater Context“. This section may enlighten many and shock or outrage others. All of which is great, because it keeps your mind working and thinking. Since I provided dozens upon dozens of sources, the skeptics and critics can go read those books and articles for themselves. Lifelong learning keeps us growing and our minds sharp!Each month, Volume 1 and Workbook 1 tap deeper into your mind and heart. Once you complete these books—at the end of four months, you’re then encouraged to get your copies of “SEEK HIM, Volume 2: Going Beyond Your Spiritual Comfort Zone” and its companion, “SEEK HIM: Workbook 2“, both of which have a February 2021 release date.

Volume 2 and Workbook 2 continue to inspire, encourage, and challenge you through four additional months of spiritual and mental exploration. It’s no cake walk. You can’t be passive with the SEEK HIM books. If you’re up for the challenge and you really want to seek Him at all times, and go beyond your spiritual comfort zone, then make sure you purchase these books.

By the time you finish reading those and completing the activities, you will be prepared to journey into the last four months of this book series. The third book set is our Volume 3 and Workbook 3, both of which have a scheduled book release for May 2021.

My books are being published through D.O.M.E. Life Publishing. Be sure to visit the website at DOMELIFEPUBLISHING.COM and learn more about this publishing imprint of Foreman & Associates, LLC, its mission, and the planned book releases for 2020 and 2021.Be sure to also sign up for the newsletter so that you’re never out of the loop!I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me to write this book, or should I say, books. I never expected for it to grow and evolve into three books with three workbooks, but we never know what God has planned for us, what He’s pouring into us, and what He’s birthing through us. I’m just grateful for all of the ways He molds and uses me.

I hope that the SEEK HIM series benefits you. Lord knows that’s what I’ve been praying for since the moment I began typing the first word of Volume 1.

Please follow D.O.M.E Life Publishing on social media:
FB @domelifepublishing
IG @domelifepublishing
Twitter @domepublishing

We will be hosting events, giveaways, and contests over the next several weeks and months. I want to make sure that you’re always in the loop. Thank you for all of your love and support!

Loving you always,
Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

I’m nervous and giddy all at the same time. I’m excited about this new adventure that we’re taking with D.O.M.E. Life Publishing as an imprint of Foreman & Associates, LLC.

I didn’t see this coming, but it’s here, and I’m ready! We have announcements rolling out and you will have an opportunity to join our mailing list to stay in the loop about all book releases, events, and more. There will be business, leadership, and management books. There will be books on spirituality, self-home, and relationships. Yes, the books that I’ve been working on are the first to be rolled out this year.

Come on 2020, let’s do this!

~Natasha

I chat with my former sister-in-law, Arleen, almost daily. Just because we’re no longer connected by marriage doesn’t mean she and I aren’t connected. Earlier this morning she texted me several messages, one included this bold reminder:

This message made me pause and then laugh at the memories of my past when I actually contemplated the half fullness or emptiness of a glass, thinking it had to be one or the other. It’s not. It’s an “and”. Matter of fact, it’s two “and’s”.

The glass is half empty and half full, and it’s refillable—which is an even bigger a-ha! We can always add to it.

This is life.

Half-fullers

For those of you who have a tendency of always seeing the glass as half-full, this message is for you. Stop seeing lack in everything you encounter.

Conditionally Half-full

Some of you reading this may be optimistic in one part of your life but always skeptical and cynical in another part. You may be thriving in your career and tanking in your love life, or vice versa. It’s because you’re failing to see that relationships are relationships, some are just more intimate than others. You truly limit yourself when you approach life thinking that there’s two worlds you’re straddling. There’s one world, you’re just engaging in each relationship in different ways. It’s about the “and’s”.

Don’t limit yourself. When you do you risk not embracing the “and’s”. They do you no good trapped inside of your mind. How many “and’s” are waiting to pour out of you?

It’s Refillable

We have to stop pushing thoughts and emotions down. Stop running and hiding from them. Explore them. Even the uncomfortable and destructive ones. Dissect them and then deal with them one at a time. Determine what works, what doesn’t, what’s for you and what’s not, and then move forward.

Our dreams die because we keep forgetting that the glass is refillable.

Our relationships die because we keep forgetting that the glass is refillable.

We have to keep pouring into those people and things that matter to us. And being mindful and intentional about what we’re pouring in, when, and why. If you pour in junk that’s what you will get. If you ration what you pour in, you will only get driplets in return. If you’re only pouring in when it serves your immediate needs, then you will only receive a short-term gain. If you’re only pouring in for selfish reasons, then you will find yourself always feeling empty-handed.

And while you’re pouring in you need to responsibly pour out.

We’re social creatures, built to give and receive. If you’re hellbent on receiving but not giving, the cup will be filled and that’s it; it’s full but, over time, you will begin to envy and covet other people’s refilled glasses. You may even knock over your glass reaching towards theirs. You will see all of the changes in their life, and you will want what they have not realizing how and why their glass keeps refilling with such variety and splendor.

The reasons they have what you don’t is simple: They aren’t placing limits on themselves, and they put in the work each day that you’re unwilling to do. They pour into others as they’re cup is being refilled. They do whatever it takes to keep that cup flowing. They operate from a mindset of abundance. They see waterfalls while you see dams. They release while you hoard.

Ooh Look at Their Grass

It’s like the “grass is greener on the other side” analogy that people ponder. I’ve written about it before but let’s look at it in yet another way.

Not Green Enough

If your “grass” is green but not as green as the other “yard”, you may think your grass isn’t green enough. Do you call that yard owner or a lawn care service and ask why their grass seems so much greener? Do you ask how to get your grass as green? Do you check to see what they are doing differently? Or do you check to see if maybe you have a different type of grass that needs to be cared for a different way?

Or do you just stew in your envy and grow to hate your yard? Or do you go a step farther and plot and plan to leave your yard so you can go to the other one?

Maybe their grass is greener because they put in the work each day that you refuse to do, don’t know how to do, or just don’t do as well. Maybe.

It can also be the type of grass. Some types need more or less water, cut more or less frequently, etc. Maybe they invested more in better quality grass, while you chose the cheaper route.

If you never ask the questions about the grass and the caretaker you never get the truth, well not initially. Some folks are so busy trying to fence hop, yard swap, that they don’t know the details.

Some people have gorgeous yards because they pay someone else to care for them, or someone else (like a spouse) is pulling all of the weight and caring for that yard. The person you give credit to for the yard merely found someone with the skills to do it for them. But how many people jump at the chance to get their hands on the person they think makes that grass magical, just to find out their choice was wrong?

We see this a lot in relationships where a person pursues a man/woman who is already in a relationship and they assume that the “greenness” they see is solely the result of that one person they are pursuing. They fail to realize that the partner is doing their share. The person they’re pursuing may not be the caretaker of that lawn.

It’s Fake

Some of you are busy bashing your yard not knowing that other super green lawns are actually artificial turf. You’re trying to swap real for fake. Even if you get it, after some time you may find yourself yearning for the real thing. What are you going to do then, pine for your old yard, tear up your fake one and try to lay down real grass? Or will you jump the fence and go invade yet another yard?

It happens a lot when people fence hop and leave behind their yard for another. After awhile, they start looking at that hard work each day (of labor and/or expense) and begin to yearn for their old yard. What is both sad and comical is when people look back at their old yards and realize that “It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I just didn’t want to put in the work”. They now have a new perspective and they don’t like the decisions they made. That’s what happens when we operate from a mindset of lack.

Brown “Grass”

If your grass is brown it’s because you didn’t care for it properly. It’s that simple. It doesn’t matter if you pack up and go to that other lawn because guess what? You’re still you and you’re still bringing your limited thinking over to that green lawn—which means that unless you put in the work to keep that grass green, you will either end up with brown grass or you’re gonna get kicked out of that yard. Whoever took care of that green grass, that you coveted, isn’t going to let you neglect or abuse it.

Fix Your Mindset

Life is not passive it’s active. You have to engage and take part in it. You have to work to block out what’s toxic and unhealthy, and let in all that is healthy and appropriate for you. It requires discernment, clarity, patience, and discipline. Not all that is healthy is for you. You have to find, see, and embrace what’s right for you. You’re a special puzzle and only the right pieces fit. Some of us just keep jamming the wrong pieces in, trying to make them fit. You’re distorting things for selfish gains, which only leads to loss.

Your mental state of lack will always keep you in a deficit. That’s why the grass-is-greener fiasco keeps you in a state of lack.

We want a microwave solution to an oven-baked situation. That’s a problem we face each day and we don’t realize that the solution is to get out of our own way. Our unhealthy selfishness causes us more grief than gain. We also remain in a state of lack when we make everything about us. When we compare what we don’t have with what someone does have, and we think that we deserve what they have because in our minds we put in equal or greater efforts—yet got different results—and we don’t see the flaws in that distorted logic.

When we are the only priority in every circumstance, we’ve unknowingly declared that the glass isn’t refillable. We’ve actually cut holes into it and we’re watching everything drain out. Ironically, we will blame someone or something else for the holes. Because now we must play the role of victim. It’s all about us, until we have to take responsibility for our actions.

To truly live we have to stop this rollercoaster of madness that we’ve created. We can’t handle it, yet, we expect others to jump on and enjoy the ride. We want people to accept and love us, when we don’t accept and love ourselves. We keep wanting it to be all about us yet we expect others to fulfill a role for us that they were never created for. We covet when we should be grateful and content.

Just like our bodies need water we need a healthy source to tap into so that our thirsts are quenched, and we can function as we’re designed. The three-part question now to ponder is:

Who and/or what is your source? Do you go within or elsewhere to access it? How will you stay out of the way so it can do what needs to be done?

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman.

I mostly stay away from Facebook and rarely pop into other platforms because it’s become a cesspool of regurgitated nonsense. People attacking people while saying “don’t attack people”; people disregarding one group of lives in exchange for another. This world of social media is SICK. It is a reflection of the bigger sickness in this world.

But I need to get something out of my head and into the atmosphere, with hope that it resonates with someone and changes their mind and heart long enough to put thought into what they say and share on and off of social media.

It pains me to see someone post an issue that matters to them just for someone to hijack it with a stupid response that disregards that issue to focus people’s attention on a different issue.

I have issues with anyone who would tell me what issues I SHOULD be MOST concerned about. So let me help you out…

I can still be concerned about MY LIFE as its impacted by COVID-19, especially as I have loved ones fighting it and loved ones who died from it. And I desperately don’t want to see anyone else die from it. And hell no I don’t want it. I have enough issues, I don’t need COVID-19. So I’m very passionate about this issue.

At the same time…

I can be concerned about unethical and criminal policing, legal system reform needs, and other related issues, as my BLACK LIFE STILL DOESN’T MATTER in THIS same COUNTRY that claimed and still claims “All lives matter”. Y’all know it should be true but it’s not. So that’s why we fight for equality, equity, and dignity that we STILL haven’t received after slaving, sharecropping, being robbed by Jim Crow, redlined, gerrymandered, and mass incarcerated in Slavery version 2.0.

At the same time…

I can be very concerned with the upcoming national election because I strongly believe that some people would do anything to keep me from voting and keep my vote from counting. Absentee voting and vote-by-mail are the EXACT SAME THING. If it’s good enough for our military then it’s good enough for me. I was born and raised in a state that passively aggressively discriminated against me. I now live in the South, where they don’t waste time faking how they feel about me or my vote.

I think this two-party system is flawed, many of our politicians (on both sides) need to get the boot, and we need a major overhaul on the state and federal level. We need to get rid of these super PACs and keep billionaire dollars from buying elections. It’s crazy how corrupt this country is. Jeesh, it’s sodom and gommorah 2020-style.

At the same time…

I’m concerned about my life and rights as a woman— as politicians and religious zealots are trying to reverse and destroy my rights to my daggum body. People don’t mind killing me with COVID-19 but they want to have a say about what I DO to MY BODY. They want to say what happens to my body, but tell me I have no say.

At the same time…

I’m concerned about women and children being trafficked as domestic and sex slaves. I’m concerned with how the porn industry serves as the hub for trafficking, and there’s too many wealthy hands in that pot to get billionaires to stop trafficking women and children for the pleasure of some sick and twisted men and women—some who may live next door to me and you.

Jeffrey Epstein should have been in prison for the past 20 years. Now with his convenient death there are hundreds of wealthy people who will never be prosecuted for their crimes. He wasn’t a lone ranger.

At the same time…

I’m concerned with ICE raids, indigenous lands being encroached upon and seized, people being isolated and criminalized because of their nationality, skin color, and religion.

At the same time…

I’m concerned about the environment, the air, soil, and the water, and let’s not forget Flint STILL HAS CRAPPY WATER! As a native of California I can say that California’s water has always sucked, but if a city in California had water like Flint’s I can guarantee you there would’ve been major change and fast. Our state and federal government is knowingly allowing people to get sick and die, because it’s not their families being impacted.

At the same time…

I’m concerned about cancer, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimers-Dementia, mental health disorders and that these issues don’t mystically magically disappear simply because we’re facing other issues. And add to it the threat of COVID-19 and those lives are more at risk.

At the same time…

I’m concerned about unemployment and underemployment and the fact that many of us will be HOMELESS while politicians tell us there’s no more unemployment and stimulus checks, and instead we should “go get retrained”. There’s somewhere interesting I would like to tell them to go…

At the same time…

I’m concerned about low-wealth communities in urban and rural areas and the suffering they are enduring on top of what they have already been enduring for decades. Working class people didn’t stop being “poor” once everyone else took a financial hit. It didn’t even the playing field. That stimulus check didn’t boost them up a tax bracket. They are being ignored now even more so than before.

And speaking of the homeless, what are we doing to better their lives? Nothing has improved in 4 years, yet we were promised “bigly” and better things.

At the same time…

I’m concerned about our “Seasoned Citizens” age 60 and older who are faced with some harsh realities about retirement, income, social security, and that things aren’t going as they planned 30 to 40 years ago. All while living in fear of being wiped out by a virus that has no cure and does not discriminate.

At the same time…

I’m concerned that self-serving parents who acted a complete fool about unvaccinated children being around their vaccinated children and screaming that the unvaccinated children would potentially expose their children to diseases and viruses, YET, NOW that they have endured several months of a 24/7 experience with their children, they can’t wait to get away from their angels. Now they don’t mind risking their children’s lives and their families lives by sending those same vaccinated children to school for 6+ hours to be exposed to a virus that has no vaccine.

And parents who don’t want to risk their children’s lives are being shamed and called all sorts of names for PROTECTING THEIR CHILDREN and their FAMILY. Teachers are being shamed and threatened. Schools are facing defunding for not reopening.

At the same time…

I’m concerned with the politicalization of face masks. A health crisis has been reduced to politics.

At the same time…

I’m concerned with how many educated people there are walking around doing and saying some ignorant stuff. Common sense just got flushed down the toilet. Critical thinking skills got tossed out the window. Basic reasoning has been rejected. Just regurgitation of propaganda and lies. Folks just don’t fact-check…nope, just like and repost 🤦🏽‍♀️

I have so many other issues that keep me up thinking late nights. Not one. Not two. But several.

So DON’T tell me which issue(s) I should be more or less focused on or concerned about. Just because the issues are not as important to you doesn’t mean it’s not to someone else. One issue is not more or less important.

It’s not either-or, it’s ALL. And since some of y’all love using the word “all” when it suits you, let me hit you with this…ALL ISSUES MATTER. Don’t shame people for being focused on one or more issues that matter to them. And don’t try to shame someone if they aren’t as outwardly outraged about the same issues as you.

Don’t diminish and devalue one life for another, one experience for another, one issue for another. They all matter, don’t they?

Do your part to make the world better by not attacking the people in it!

~Natasha L. Foreman

What is amazing is that John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath in 1939 and it covered the era of the Dust Bowl, yet 81 years later I can see scenes of that past displayed in painful images and news reports today. If you don’t know 1930s US history, then let me give you a quick recap of what the Dust Bowl was all about and how I’m tying this into present-day.

Due to years of drought and improperly farmed land (due to high demand of rapid cultivation), wind erosion, and the influx of mechanized farm equipment a decade earlier, the unanchored soil turned to dust. That dust was whirled up by strong winds that swept huge billowing dust clouds throughout the panhandle of Oklahoma (northwest), northern Texas, northeast New Mexico, southeast Colorado, western and central Kansas, and a speck of southwestern Nebraska in the early 1930s.

More than 100 million acres were impacted by the dust storms, most of the states affected were choked off by dust for over four years, while some states were impacted for over 8 years. Tens of thousands of people were displaced because they could no longer farm their lands, pay their bills, and provide for their families. By 1936, the financial loss was $25 million per day, which is the equivalent to approximately $460 million today, according to the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis.

Families who had lived on their properties for generations, were forced to leave with whatever they could pack and load in their vehicles. Their houses and other structures were oftentimes bulldozed and destroyed. Since the banks now owned the lands because the families took out loans that they later could not repay, these families were left to be tenant farmers and had no claim to the land they once owned free and clear. Banks showed no mercy as they forced the families from their homes and off of their lands. Sound familiar?

My maternal grandparents were born and raised in Oklahoma, and were children during the Dust Bowl. Thankfully for them, the storms never reached their part of the state and they never had to leave their family’s lands. And although I’m a California native, thankfully when my parents and paternal grandparents moved to that state, the chaos of decades earlier had been a memory far removed. But maybe you can see another reason why I’m naturally drawn to the story, The Grapes of Wrath. Both sides of my family have been landowners and property owners for generations. Imagine making it past the Civil War and finally gaining a footing in this cruel country, to then be forced off of the land you bought and worked on. Just devastating.

Tens of thousands of people traveled from Dust Bowl states and migrated to California, because it was known as a state that survived the Great Depression better than most states. Individuals and families saw California as their second chance to rebuild and thrive. What they didn’t know was that Californians didn’t want outsiders and “foreigners”. The migrants were called “Okies” and this wasn’t just because many of them were from Oklahoma, it soon became a derogatory term to describe the level of disgust that Californians felt for the migrants. Yes indeed, people from other states were called foreigners, and they looked down on them. If you look at our country today, locals don’t feel cheery about a spike in their population due to newcomers. They start to fear a shortage in jobs, housing, opportunities, and space on the freeways and highways. They start to fear a spike in the cost of goods and services. Although they give the side eye, they aren’t acting out like we did decades ago.

Not yet at least.

If you read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck then maybe you recall the struggle and strife of the people and families impacted by the Dust Bowl. You should also recall how they were overlooked and taken advantage of by those in their home states who didn’t lose their properties, and they were treated considerably worse by people in California.

Those who made it to California were forced to accept scraps, beg for jobs, and be subjected to inhumane conditions. And back then, the Salvation Army had a bad reputation in California for mistreating the destitute. If the “Okies” protested what Californians were doing to them then they were beaten, arrested, and many were murdered. Yes, even law enforcement was in on the mistreatment. Sadly, the migrants watched as their campsites were burned down by locals who didn’t want “Okies” there. Locals didn’t want to compete with the migrants so they did everything they could to force them out of the state.

Californians drove wages as low as possible to ensure that the migrants couldn’t live dignified lives. They created a mindset where people would accept anything just to eat. They would work for scraps of food to keep from dying of hunger. To keep prices of their crops high, the big landowners in California destroyed some of their crops instead of letting hungry migrants eat them. This waste and cruelty caused a “crop” to develop and sprout in the souls of the migrants—which Steinbeck coined, the grapes of wrath.

The irony is, Californians were doing all of that to protect the land that they stole from Mexicans. Yep, California was part of Mexico, along with Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas until 1850, 1912, and 1848, respectively. How did this happen? Well, in the early 1800s, Americans were desperate and they decided to travel to other lands looking for opportunities for a better life. They saw ripe acres of land and they chose to become squatters. They built houses, planted on and farmed the lands, and eventually stood strengthened in the belief that the land was now theirs. Since Mexicans hadn’t considered that squatters would be an issue, they weren’t prepared for what ultimately happened—losing their land to immigrants who forcefully fought to remain on land not theirs. In 1848 Texas fought and became a state. In 1850 California became a state, and because they also fought hard against slavery, it was a free state as part of the Union. Arizona and New Mexico eventually gained statehood in 1912.

Now, fast forward to the 1930s with Californians “owning” the land, they saw their old selves in the migrants, and rather than being neighborly, they acted rabid. They feared losing the land the same way they got it. They feared the migrants from Oklahoma and other states, and feared that just as they squatted on the land and fought the Mexicans, that the migrants would do the exact same thing to them.

If this wasn’t so painful to examine it would be comical. This nonsense has been happening since this country was first stolen from Native Americans. Our inability to coexist, share, be content with what is allotted to us in a land where we are all foreigners, so we steal that land and it’s resources from the people who allowed us to come here. Then when newcomers arrive we tell them we don’t want them here, there’s not enough land and resources to share. All I can do is smirk and shake my head.

If you never read The Grapes of Wrath and doubt you will go buy a copy or check out one from the library, let me help you out. I searched on YouTube and found all three parts of the audiobook from two sources. Below are the links. Listen to the book. Listen and see how then, is in many ways, now, and now is then.

Audiobook Part 1 https://youtu.be/CzdoHqBhcdc Audiobook Part 2 https://youtu.be/3ofBuTMAtc4 Audiobook Part 3 https://youtu.be/0sjzwlkkLmg

This savagery, as I call it, is cyclical— generation after generation. We keep repeating this nonsense and we don’t see the need to stop and live right. We don’t see the need to treat others with dignity and respect, just as we would like to be treated. Greed drives it all. Big business keeps squashing the little person, banks keep getting bailed out even though they won’t do the same for their depositors, and the frenzy drives the working class into a state of sheer desperation and madness—where they too begin turning on each other. Sound familar? If only people learned how to unite against the status quo. That was a thread of wisdom that Steinbeck wove through the story, where certain characters would propose the concept of strength in numbers, and standing as a collective voice and force—but each time, fear would get in the way. Just like today.

In the book, people were prevented from buying land in California, and if it appeared there was an opportunity to purchase, the price would be set so high that the dream would quickly disappear. They would be forced to live in government and other campsites, with communal facilities, and unsanitary conditions. Today, how do we get the “undesirables” out of neighborhoods and communities? We raise the price of rent, we increase our police presence to get more arrests, we create or unfairly enforce rules or laws that target them, and we make the living conditions unbearable. That is also the strategy to keep people away.

I’ve read several articles recently about the skyrocketed cost of living in California and the staggering number of homeless who have no where safe to go. People with jobs who can’t afford to rent are being forced to sleep in their vehicles, in shelters, or on the streets. Just the other week I read of a tiny house community that was built to house the homeless. It’s ridiculous that this community even had to be built. If property owners reduced their rates on their rentals people could rent. If property owners stopped being greedy trying to sell their homes for way more than their worth, we could have more homeowners. But guess what? Between greed and fear, no one is budging from their position.

But guess what else? It’s not just California that has lost their mind with these ridiculous rate hikes. Have you checked the rental and sales prices of properties in Atlanta, Georgia and surrounding cities? Absolutely ridiculous. There are some areas where you can still be mugged or carjacked yet the houses are being sold for $500,000 to $750,000. I’m not joking. Houses that once were $15,000 to $50,000 were remodeled and because some sucker (most likely from California, New York, or other high priced state) was willing to pay $350,000 or more for a property nearby, that encouraged other sellers to list their homes for comparable prices. All of this has been driving the market up, which means a bubble will be bursting soon, and people will be wailing about the injustice of it all when the property values come plummeting down to levels that actually make sense. We could stop these bubbles from growing in the first place if people stopped being greedy.

Everyone thinks that someone is going to take or destroy what’s ours, even when what’s ours isn’t rightfully ours. We keep living with a “them” versus “us” mindset, rather than realizing that we all want the exact same things in life, and given the opportunity we could all live side-by-side in harmony. We simply choose the chaos. When will we grow tired of this treachery? Share your thoughts.

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman.

Today, we learn that former NACA/NASA pioneer and hidden figure, Katherine Johnson has passed away. Many of us grew up not knowing Mrs. Johnson and the phenomenal work she did for NACA/NASA from 1953 to 1988.

Thousands of people admitted on social media and in interviews and private conversations that the first time they learned of Mrs. Johnson was when she and several other African American women were depicted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures”.

Mrs. Johnson was depicted by Taraji P. Henson. The film sparked countless conversations and admissions by women, such as myself, who felt so close to the women depicted, and how we wished that we knew about them growing up because they could’ve served as the visual role models we needed to see when other people discouraged us from pursuing degrees and careers in fields that are predominantly led by men.

If you haven’t read Mrs. Johnson’s biography, a brief overview provided by NASA can be found here. I normally don’t cite Wikipedia, but there is extensive coverage of Mrs. Johnson here.

Thank you Mrs. Johnson!

Mrs. Johnson and other phenomenal women laid the foundation for other girls and women in STREAM areas. I hope that parents, schools, and great mentors begin to and continue to expose, and encourage, girls to pursue their passions in science, technology, robotics, engineering, architecture, mathematics, and other related fields.

As we still see low numbers of African American women represented in these fields, let’s be sure to not sabotage our girls by steering them to other fields that have historically been deemed “more appropriate” or “better aligned” with “girls strengths”. If they want to pursue engineering, then help open the doors to get them there.

Parents As Supporters

The engineer/technologist in me should’ve listened to my mom and dad who encouraged my love of science, technology, building and deconstructing, etc. My parents bought me books and kits on science, space, robots, technology, etc.

My dad bought me my first microscope and science kit, a computer in 6th grade, and he paid for me to take computer classes at a center that only had adult learners. He would let me work with him on the family cars, teaching me the various tools, parts, and what did what and how. My father drilled me on math as soon as I came out of the womb, always telling me the importance of math and that I was better at it than I believed.

My mom used to help me with ALL of my science projects, I mean all of them! She even played a major role in helping me design my 6th grade invention—that my parents and I didn’t think to patent, called the “Doorbell Butler”. It was then an early iteration of what is now the modern day “Ring” technology that millions of people use. Uugh every day we are reminded that we should’ve patented the idea. The iterations that led up to the modern devices all utilized elements of my invention. But no one will ever know, because I never patented mine.

Imagine your child having an idea that you help them design, you can patent it or just continue on to the next idea. We talk about patents all of the time now, but back in the day it wasn’t every day talk at the kitchen table and definitely not as it related to a child’s idea. It would’ve been cool being a 10-year-old patent holder!

Maybe you and your children have some patent-worthy ideas.

I appreciate my parents for encouraging me to try anything and everything, and pursue my passions. They exposed me to books, the arts, music, acting, sports, and much more. I fell in love with track and field as a child, and my parents never missed a track meet. Even attending my track meets in college.

Because of my parents I’m a book worm, lover of the arts, a passionate writer, athletic, and have fond memories of playing the piano and violin as a child.

My mom bought me my violin and would listen to me practice all over our home. She attended all of my piano recitals. My dad bought me a baby grand piano in 6th grade. He had visions of me playing in concerts as a classical pianist. I thought that was a far-stretch, but I still enjoyed it.

At my request, my parents would take me to acting school every single Saturday in Hollywood, CA when I was in 6th grade. Until of course my social life was begging for my attention and I started missing out on hanging out at the skating rink with my friends. Then, with my passion for skating intensifying, my parents shelled out about $200 so I could get these amazing speed skates—white with pink wheels and laces. I continued skating, almost weekly, until high school. I’m grateful for having the parents I was blessed with. Positive exposure is priceless!!!

Teachers As Instrumental or Destructive Gate Keepers

My parents invested in my passions but sadly, in high school I began to believe more in what teachers said to me. And that shaped the decisions that I made academically and professionally.

Instead of listening to my parents, I listened to teachers who “advised” me to focus my attention on being a writer, because that was my strength. They said that I wasn’t good at math so I could never work in the industries that interested me.

I even had a science teacher in high school say that the fields I was interested in were better suited for men. I should’ve repeated his words to my parents. Instead I internalized those words and began to believe that the teachers were right. We tend to believe the people who have degrees in the fields we’re interested in.

My parents majored in Business, so I chose to believe the people at my school teaching my science and math classes. Why is it we only listen to our parents as newborns and once we’re adults?

If Only I Knew

Imagine if I knew of the dynamic women at NASA! Imagine if I knew of the work they were doing. I then could’ve said, “but Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson have and are doing it, they paved the way so that I can too!”

When I was a child we didn’t have the Internet to turn to, at least not in the format that we have casually been using it since the 1990s. Growing up, you went to the library and researched using books and straining your eyes scrolling through microfiche.

So if there weren’t any books or articles published and later supplied by the school or public library, you wouldn’t read and know about the amazing people doing amazing things around the world. I would spend hours reading and collecting books to check out and take home from the library. I can’t ever recall reading a book about women, and especially not African American women, in these various industries.

Even when I think of Florence Nightingale, it is always in the context of training nurses and caring for soldiers during a war. It was never heavily stressed that she was a statistician. We only regard her as being the founder of modern nursing. And even then, the magnitude of that honor isn’t propelled as high as it should be. I will say, I’m too squeamish to have ever pursued a career as a nurse or doctor. So I would’ve thought she was cool, but never dug deeper into her story.

Heck, I don’t ever recall learning about Ada Lovelace until I was an adult, and that was because I was reading a book for personal enlightenment. Why is society so hush hush about this woman’s contribution to the world of computing? She was one of the first computer programmers and the first person to see the potential of a computing machine.

In the 1800s!

Maybe because it was the 1800s. And mathematics technology, and computing was considered “man’s work”. Heck, some still think it is.

Exposure to and of Black Women in STREAM

Maybe, just maybe during Black History Month, Marjorie Lee Browne, Evelyn Boyd Granville, Katherine Johnson, Melba Roy Mouton, and others were mentioned as being pioneers in mathematics, but it was clearly a rush job during trivia contests. It had no stickiness in my mind. It was most definitely not a part of my school’s curriculum.

I don’t know, maybe had I attended a predominantly Black school, maybe there would’ve been greater intentionality of exposing students to pioneers in this field and other industries. Maybe seeing ourselves in these women would’ve helped us appreciate mathematics more.

Maybe had I known about Mary Jackson, Christine Darden, and others then I would’ve known about the multitude of paths I could have taken in engineering. Had I known about Annie J. Easley, maybe I would’ve had greater interest in computer science.

But then again, we know of countless children who attend predominantly Black K-12 schools who are just as or more clueless about the accomplishments of thousands of Black scientists, mathematicians, engineers, architects, inventors, etc.

We have hundreds of students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that would struggle answering trivia questions about Black women in the industries mentioned.

Do we somehow see it as the responsibility of the student to seek out and find this knowledge independently? What we don’t know that we don’t know is hurting and holding us back.

Society’s Role

Society needs to do a better job of encouraging our children to pursue whatever path they desire. So what if they fail. Failing teaches you how to succeed, it builds grit and character, and it’s quite humbling. I would rather fail at trying something I’m passionate about than sit by wishing I had taken the step to pursue my passions. Woulda, coulda, shoulda is an awful place to be.

You Can’t Be Great Again Without Girls and Women

Just about every nation around the world wants to be great, they want to be recognized world leaders. Well it’s already been proven that if girls and women are not empowered and factored into that winning strategy, as major contributors, in the industries that generate the power and influence that those in government desire—then those nations and those leaders will fail miserably.

Look at how the US is suffering and has been suffering for the past 25-plus years. We better invest in our girls and women, and do so in a positive way. If not, we won’t be holding on to this number one spot for long, and our education scores and rankings will continue to spiral and plummet.

Let’s help to raise and nurture more girls to pursue their passions, whether in STREAM-related fields, or other areas of interest. Not just some girls, all girls. Don’t block their blessings, open the doors to countless opportunities! Help them to see and be futuristic so that they can make a lasting impact, be agents of change, and build honorable legacies.

Thanks NASA

Thank you NACA/NASA for unknowingly and at times begrudgingly opening doors of opportunity for women, and specifically, African American women. I know that initially, the roles for women in NACA were thought to be mindless positions. The 1950s were an interesting time and a woman’s place was a huge debate. I know that the extra flames were fanned when the topic of race was included. The thought of Black women being as smart and smarter than their white male coworkers, definitely had to be a combative environment at times.

But soon you were forced to realize the true gems you had hidden, and you had no choice but to let those gems rise, shine, and do what they do best. I thank you for realizing that risking failure of NACA and later NASA just wasn’t worth it. You wisely bet on these women.

I thank the few astronauts who cared more about their life and returning home safely, than being caught up in the sexist and racist trap of thinking a Black woman couldn’t possibly be smarter than the man-made computers, and the men overseeing the department.

The Future is Now

We’re at a rocky time in history right now. Some men are scared of the power and force that comes from letting women do what they were born and taught to do. Some men are afraid of being seen as less superior, smart, and accomplished. Some men (including some Black men) can’t fathom seeing a Black woman in a role equal to or above their own.

What we fear we try to suppress, correct, and destroy. Let’s break this cycle. It’s destroying us as a nation, as a people.

We should be nations empowered by parents who tell their children, “yes you can!” We should see fathers creating, building and deconstructing things with their daughters, just as they would with their sons. Let’s stop this foolishness of “man’s work” and “woman’s work”. My dad told me when I was a child that all of that was pure ignorance. He said that work is work and we should all take part in getting the job done.

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

The mind of a fool…

Does not trust what he can’t see…But trusts what he can see, even if it’s a LIE!

You claim you want freedom yet you choose your enslavement.

Stretch your mind. You are only using a fraction of its capabilities.

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

As I sit here, some things come to mind…

Many of us live through other people’s experiences. We dislike and fear what someone else dislikes and fears. We ourselves haven’t experienced what they did, yet we embrace the feelings and beliefs as though they are our own. Someone else was harmed by another person, so now we dislike that person for the harm they caused.

Someone didn’t like the food at a restaurant, so we never go and try it for ourselves. A person had a bad experience on their vacation, so we swear we will never visit that place.

That’s why so many people never travel beyond their town, city, county, state, region, or country.

That’s why some people never get on planes, trains, boats, and ships.

We never try new foods. We never read a different genre of books or listen to a different style of music.

That’s why some people don’t pursue educational dreams and career goals.

That’s why thousands of people can’t figure out how to fix their raggedy love life.

That’s why so many of us suffer.

We let other voices dictate to us.

We don’t know the truth but we accept someone’s words as truth.

We don’t think.

We don’t question.

We don’t seek answers.

We choose to exist rather than live. We confuse living with thriving.

When we’re thriving, fear has no stronghold, it has no footing.

When we’re thriving, our experiences are uniquely our own. No one else will have that exact same experience.

We know this.

That’s why two people can sit side-by-side on an amusement park ride and walk away with different experiences. Two people eat the same food at the same time but share different things about the food. One person tastes spices the other one didn’t notice or didn’t know what they were to define them. Two people arguing aren’t having the same experience, they are merely sharing the same space in time.

You have never eaten artichoke but you declare you don’t like it. Never tasted rhubarb but you swear it’s gross. Most likely, because you heard of someone else’s experience, or worse, their uninformed opinions from lack of experience.

How many of you have resolved to settle for a life of seeing the world through the pictures and experiences of other people?

You have to go to know.

People have opinions about cities, states, and countries that they have never visited. It’s hilarious and sad at the same time.

I smirk when I hear people make generalizations about a nationality, race, religion, or gender of people. Do you know every person of that nation, race, religion, or gender? Then how can you say, “all_____people…” or “____people do/say___”? But you don’t know all of them. So how do you know what they all say or do? You most definitely can’t say what one person thinks about all things, so how can you speak about an entire group of people?

I’m guilty of these ignorant statements. I try to catch myself after saying them.

I laugh when I hear or read people make statements about a group of people, yet they don’t know anyone from that group. They don’t know any Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, or Satanists. But they speak as though they do. They don’t personally know any people of African, European, Latin, Hispanic, or Asian descent—but from listening to them, you would swear that they know plenty.

Are all law enforcement officers corrupt, racists, bigots, sexist, and egomaniacs? No. Yet, there are people who see one officer and in that one, they see all. The broad generalization forms and becomes your personal belief system, creed, law.

And your one or few experiences doesn’t mean the totality for all humankind. Remember, those are your experiences, not mine, not your neighbors, and not your child’s.

We speak and act from ignorance. Since we choose not to educate ourselves through asking questions, researching, and stepping beyond our comfort zone, we say and do the stupidest of things.

You become more of what you are against than what you’re for. You are operating from a state of lack. That is a danger zone.

We regurgitate words from religious texts and ceremonies, without knowing their true and full meaning and application. We cling to historical figures and celebrities without knowing the person. Our idolization restricts us from being our authentic self. Our insecurities force us to manufacture false narratives to boost our desired perception. We follow man rather than lead ourselves. Because it’s an easier path and then you have someone to blame other than self.

There’s a reason for these words of declaration:

self-esteem, self-worth, self-enlightenment, self-empowerment, self-acceptance, self-actualization, self-awareness, self-control, self-expression, self-healing, self-help, etcetera.

It starts and ends with self.

We keep expecting others to do it for us. Be the positive change you want to see, stop waiting for it to happen. Take responsibility.

You must lead yourself or you will most definitely be led. And since you don’t know yourself, you will allow someone else to dictate and create your story for you. They will define you. You will allow someone else to determine your worth and value.

Your ignorance comes with a harsh penalty.

We spread our ignorance. We deposit it into our families, our children, our houses of worship, our workplaces, and our communities. We manifest the lack we obsess over.

The uninformed are the easiest to recruit, brainwash, and mold.

What you don’t know that you don’t know, can literally destroy you. Those who feel lost, neglected, powerless, voiceless, and forgotten are prey. That is why drugs, gangs (defined by many names), prostitution, and the sort have great prevalence in society.

People are being preyed upon and they don’t even know it. They have no clue that the biggest predators are the ones standing next to them, hugging them, and cheering them on.

You can blame whomever or whatever you like for the person that you are today. Or you can make the decision to intentionally live with a clean slate. You have the choice to write or re-write your story however you please, with your unique experiences. Your learning only stops when you choose to close yourself off from life. You may not be able to choose where to live your life, but you can choose how to live where you are.

You can live in the world and not be of it. You can be like the fish in the ocean, surrounded by salt, but not consumed by their environment.

Think about it.

Last week, I heard a message from Darren Hardy that spoke of this amazing truth. That fish of the sea live in salt water, they breathe and take in salt water. They eat things that are also in the water. Yet they don’t taste like tons of salt. All they do is swim around all day and night in salt water. But we barely taste the salt in them. That is how we should live our lives.

We can live in it but not be of it.

You aren’t your environment, circumstances, or your past. You aren’t the family you were born into or raised by, or the people you associate with.

Unless you choose to be.

You choose to associate with toxic people and behave like them. You choose to live in fear and ignorance. If you live in a “free” and “developed” nation, you choose to not journey beyond your town, city, county, state, or country. You choose to believe what you think, and to entertain the thoughts that surface. How life unfolds is based on the choices that we make.

How will you choose to live your life, experience the world, and see the people in it?

What will you choose to do without thought of your age, gender, or where you’re from?

What healthy choices will you make starting today?

This very moment.

Then do it!

I love you all,

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.